Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam
Illustration: Craig, Flickr.
Last week, Governor Northam introduced a series of amendments to the legalization bills (Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312) that would significantly reduce the legalization deadline to July of this year. After the legislature approved the changes yesterday, the state of Virginia has now finalized its legalization plans, creating the first-ever legal adult-use cannabis market in the southern United States.
From 1. In July 2021, Virginia will allow adults to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and up to four plants per family. The commercial cannabis market and associated regulatory framework will result in sales at 1. Legalization in July 2024.
The bill establishes the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority as the regulatory agency to oversee the legal cannabis market. The agency’s five-member board will draft and issue regulations and permits. Under the bill, the commission could set a cap of 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 growers and 60 growers, not including medical cannabis and hemp processing licenses already issued. The Council is also responsible for licensing testing laboratories.
Vertical integration is not allowed under Virginia’s new legalization plan, but all medical cannabis licensees in the state are already vertically integrated. Under the bill, they can retain their vertical integration for a small fee of $1 million and upon submission of a diversity, equity and inclusion plan.
In addition to Virginia’s standard 6% sales tax, 21% state tax is levied on retail sales of adult-use cannabis, excluding medical dispensaries. Local municipalities may levy up to 3% additional tax.
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