Virginia House lawmakers advanced Senate legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, but amended the legislation to conform to the House version—the Senate is expected to do the same and eventually send the bill to a conference committee comprised of lawmakers from both chambers. Substitute Senate Bill 1406, the House version, advanced through the Democratic-controlled House General Laws Committee on a 16-5 vote. Both bills legalize the recreational cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana with sales beginning in 2024. They would allow the sale to any person 21 years or older and require ID checks, similar to alcohol sale requirements. In the Senate’s version, localities could prohibit the retail sale of marijuana within their jurisdiction, while in the Senate bill, there is no opt-out clause, but retail sales would still be subject to local zoning regulations. The Senate version would legalize possession as early as July 1 of this year, but the House version would not legalize possession until the sale is also legal. The Senate version would also require the legislature to reenact certain parts of the bill before it could go into effect, but the House version does not have that provision.

Tom Angell, Marijuana Moment, 02/11/2021 20:55:00

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