VA lawmakers scramble to agree on adult-use marijuana bill before deadline

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Legislative negotiations in Virginia to resolve differences over two adult-use marijuana bills are down to the wire.

A conference committee is trying to agree on a measure so it can be passed before the end of a special legislative session.

Saturday is the deadline to work on legislation, but the Legislature won’t officially adjourn until Monday, according to The Washington Post.

If the lawmakers can reach agreement, Virginia would become the 16th state in the country to legalize adult use. Sales would begin Jan. 1, 2024.

Virginia’s House of Delegates and the state Senate earlier this month passed two separate adult-use legalization bills, setting the stage for the negotiations.

One of the biggest hurdles is that the Senate wants to delay decisions about how the market would be regulated until next year, according to the Virginia Mercury.

The two plans also differ over whether to allow companies to vertically integrate.

Both measures emphasize licensing opportunities for small- and minority-owned local businesses.