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Virginia Lawmakers Pass Bills Allowing Retail Sales of Recreational Marijuana

RICHMOND, VA – Legislation allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana has been approved by lawmakers in Virginia, the Washington Post reports.

The bills were passed last week by the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate, both controlled by Democrats, and were sent to Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Under the legislation, the state would start taking applications on Sept. 1 for cultivating, testing, processing and selling marijuana in preparation for the market to open May 1, 2025, with products taxed at a rate of up to 11.625%.   The marketplace would be administered by a state Cannabis Control Authority.

The House sponsor, Del. Paul Krizek of Fairfax County, said the bills would create the framework for marijuana sales in a “reasonable and thoughtful way”, adding, “And we’ve done so because it’s time to give Virginia’s $3 billion illicit market a run for its money. And it’s time to give Virginians access to a safe, tested and taxed product.”

“This is one of the most monumental pieces of legislation that we’ve ever had before us,” said House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert. (R-Shenandoah)

Virginia legalized marijuana in 2021, allowing adults age 21 and up to possess and cultivate the drug, but had yet to establish a regulated marketplace.

Gov. Youngkin has yet to indicate explicitly what action he will take on the legislation.  “I’ve said before, this is an area that I really don’t have any interest in. What I want us to work on are areas where we can find a meeting of the mind and press forward to the betterment of Virginia, and there are so many of them,” he said in January.

The House and Senate had put forth separate bills to establish a retail marijuana market and reconciled the two versions to reach a compromise on the issue.

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