Virginia legislators propose changes to recreational marijuana law

Republican lawmakers in Virginia have filed a flurry of bills that would make critical changes to the recreational marijuana law enacted last year – some that would help businesses and others that threaten social equity efforts.

Proposed changes include moving up the retail sales launch from 2024 and slashing the overall tax rate from 21% to 10%, according to the Associated Press.

Many advocates are pressing for both changes to curb the illicit cannabis market in the state as soon as possible.

But some of the proposed legislation has come under fire from equity advocates.

The law earmarked 30% of Virginia tax revenue from retail sales for a fund that would reinvest in communities affected by the war on drugs.

Sen. Tommy Norment earlier proposed legislation that instead would have funneled that money to the state’s general fund.

Now, Republican Delegate Michael Webert has proposed legislation that, among other things, would put the 30% into school facilities rather than community reinvestment.

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The Virginia Minority Cannabis Coalition is one of several advocates that say eliminating equity funding is a “slap in the face” to the effort to ensure the adult-use industry is equitable and inclusive.

A reenactment clause in the legislation enacted last year requires lawmakers to vote again this year on a number of regulatory and licensing details.