Virginia lawmakers overwhelmingly passed legislation that would allow smokable marijuana flower sales later this year, a reform that will dramatically boost sales in the state’s nascent medical cannabis market.
Flower sales often account for roughly 50% of market sales.
Gov. Ralph Northam has supported marijuana, including urging adult-use legalization, so he’s expected to sign the bill.
The likely MMJ product expansion comes at a time when Virginia is on the verge of becoming the 16th state to legalize adult-use marijuana.
Virginia lawmakers have passed two different adult-use bills and are now working to resolve the differences.
The state launched its limited medical cannabis program in October with only four licensed vertical operators. A fifth license is vacant.
Advocates had been working hard to legalize smokable flower to provide more affordable products to patients.
The updated Marijuana Business Factbook recently projected that MMJ sales in Virginia would reach $9 million to $11 million this year. But the figure could be quite a bit higher depending on when smokable-flower sales begin.
The legislation calls for the state Board of Pharmacy to implement flower regulations, including testing standards, by Sept. 1.