Greenway Magazine
by Brandon Dunn
1 Mar 2021

In a social media post on LinkedIn, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quentin Lucas left no question as to his position on marijuana legalization.

In his post. Lucas shared a Politico article and posted, “It’s coming. Missouri should be an early adopter.”

The article breaks down the adoption and passage of legislation in Virginia that will legalize marijuana.

Important to note is that even with the passage of the bill, marijuana will remain illegal in Virginia until January 2024, when regulated sales are scheduled to start.

Virginia will spend the next 3 years developing and implementing a regulatory agency and framework, beginning in July.

The Virginia bill will allow adults over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, allows for home cultivation of up to four plants per household. And sets a 21 percent excise tax on marijuana.

The bill allows for vertical integration in limited circumstances, including grandfathered medical cannabis producers and industrial hemp processors, as well as some micro-businesses.

The bill also allows municipalities to add an additional 3 percent tax on retailers on top of existing sales taxes.

Virginia passed one of the country’s first medical marijuana laws all the way back in 1979. A provision in Virginia law that allowed for those who had a valid prescription to avoid prosecution, but prescriptions can only be written for FDA-approved medicines, which cannabis was, and is, not. This fact made the provision effectively moot.

In September 2018 the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy approved applications for five companies to open medical cannabis dispensaries. On July 1, 2020, registered patients were finally provided explicit statutory legal protection.  The first of those dispensaries opened to patients in October of 2020.

The legalization bill calls for Marijuana tax revenues to be used to fund pre-K education, substance use disorder treatment programs, and other public health initiatives.

A portion of revenues will also go toward a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund. The fund is designed to benefit communities disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement, by providing resources including workforce development and scholarships.

While Virginia becomes the 16th U.S. state to pass an adult-use marijuana legalization law, Virginia becomes only the third, alongside Illinois and Vermont, to pass adult-use legalization legislation through their legislature.

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