Virginia Senate Panel Advances Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill

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A Virginia Senate panel approved an adult-use cannabis legalization bill Jan. 20, advancing it to the next committee for consideration, according to a local WRIC report.

The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Subcommittee voted 4-3 to approve the legalization measure, which is sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), and backed by Gov. Ralph Northam.

The legislation, as proposed by Northam, would allow adults 21 and older to legally purchase cannabis starting in 2023, and would establish a regulatory framework overseen by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority and a seven-member Cannabis Control Advisory Board, WRIC reported.

At an initial hearing Jan. 19, the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Subcommittee recommended creating a new, independent agency to oversee an adult-use cannabis market in the state, according to the news outlet, and recommended delaying the proposed 2023 launch six months to a year to allow more time to establish regulatory oversight.

The bill now advances to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee for consideration, WRIC reported.

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