stub Virginia House Panel Approves Compromise Marijuana Legalization Bill -
Connect with us


Virginia House Panel Approves Compromise Marijuana Legalization Bill




In a significant development early Thursday morning, the Virginia House General Laws Committee approved a revised and “compromise” version of legislation aimed at legalizing and regulating retail marijuana sales in the state. The panel's decision followed negotiations by stakeholders and a 12–10 vote in favor of the amended bill, SB 448.

The revised legislation, a result of collaboration between Sen. Aaron Rouse (D) and Del. Paul Krizek (D), addresses differences between the original Senate bill and a separate House measure. Notable points of alignment include public safety, public health, enforcement, local land use referendums, and regulatory oversight.

During the committee hearing, Krizek highlighted three key policy areas of alignment: the timing for the market's opening, canopy size characterization, and considerations for equity. The compromise establishes a uniform start date for retail stores, with operations commencing no earlier than May 1, 2025, while the licensing process kicks off in September of this year.

Krizek's initial proposal had suggested allowing certain businesses to start retail sales earlier, but the compromise ensures a level playing field for all, dismissing concerns about potential market dominance by some businesses.

Taxation of cannabis sales under the amended bill is set at around 9 percent, comprising a 4.5 percent state tax and an optional 4.5 percent tax for local governments. This represents a reduction from the earlier Senate bill's proposed 17.5 percent tax rate.

The compromise also introduces regulations for commercial marijuana cultivators, measuring scale by square footage instead of individual plant count. Unlike the original House bill's ban on outdoor cultivation, the compromise permits outdoor cultivation by smaller-scale growers, while larger operators are restricted to indoor cultivation.

Addressing equity concerns, the proposal establishes a microbusiness program awarding licenses based in part on applicants' personal histories. Eligible applicants include individuals with past cannabis misdemeanors, family members of those with convictions, military veterans, residents of economically disadvantaged communities, and recipients of federal Pell grants.

Microbusinesses qualifying for additional support, such as partial fee waivers and technical assistance, aim to redress the impact of the drug war.

While stakeholders like the Virginia Cannabis Association (VCA) and Marijuana Justice expressed support for the compromise, not everyone is pleased. Advocacy organization NORML voiced disappointment over the delayed start of legal sales, pushing it to May 1, 2025, instead of the previously suggested March start date.

The revised bill now moves to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee for further consideration. If passed, it will require approval from both legislative chambers before reaching Governor Glenn Youngkin, who has previously expressed reluctance to sign cannabis commerce legislation. The ongoing session's dynamics will play a crucial role in shaping the future of marijuana legalization in Virginia.

This story was originally covered by Marijuana Moment.


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.