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Virginia Cannabis Consumers Disappointed by Youngkin's Lack of Commitment to the Retail Market

By: Buz Deliere | January 25, 2023

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Instead of giving a firm answer on whether he will sign legislation that could potentially provide Virginians with access to retail marijuana sales, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has instead chosen to focus attention on regulations surrounding the sale and distribution of hemp-derived delta-8 products in Virginia. His decision is sure to disappoint many citizens hoping for more progressive cannabis reform within their state's boundaries.

With a wave of cannabis legalization sweeping the nation, Virginia residents 21 and over will have to wait before they can celebrate.

Possession limits were removed in 2021 but there is still no legal way for recreational users to access cannabis in the state - attempts at creating frameworks stalled in the General Assembly leaving many feeling disappointed and frustrated.

With the push to legalize recreational marijuana in Virginia, both Democrats and Republicans are submitting bills for consideration during the 2023 legislative session that would establish a retail cannabis market.

Governor Youngkin is making his opinion on recreational sales about as clear as the thick chalky smoke from a bong hit, with no definitive answer as of yet. What will the fate be of this proposed bill? Will he sign it into law or veto it instead? We'll have to wait and see what decision Virginia's governor makes.

Youngkin said to a local news agency, “Let me be clear, the bill I am tracking and looking for is a bill that deals with hemp and delta-8 and the regulations and consumer safety around those products," he then went on to say, “That is the bill that I am watching to make sure that comes out because that’s the bill I want to sign.”

In Virginia, adults have the legal right to cultivate their own cannabis with up to four plants in the comfort of their home. Additionally, they can acquire it either as a gift or purchase it from an accredited medical dispensary with proper licensing.

Youngkin aims to create regulations for unregulated products, such as delta-8 and delta-10, which provide a high similar to cannabis, which is legal in the state. So far, the initiative has been unsuccessful despite his efforts.

Before Virginia's 2021 legislative session, Speaker of the House of Delegates, Todd Gilbert expressed a desire to move forward with establishing regulations for retail cannabis sales. However, despite ongoing anticipation from Republicans and Democrats alike, Governor Youngkin has yet to provide any guidance on this issue.

Virginia citizens have expressed disappointment that their voices seem unheard while cannabis remains an unresolved issue under Youngkin's tenure as governor.


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