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Virginia Republicans push for changes in marijuana law

Virginia Republicans push for changes in marijuana law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Newly Authorized Republican lawmakers in Virginia who Conflicting legalizing Plain possession of marijuana say they don't want to Fleck the law, but they do want to make Fundamental changes.

Those changes could Admit Affecting up the First date for retail Gross sales and Acquiring rid of a provision that would give licensing preference to people who have been Condemned of marijuana crimes.

Republicans have filed at To the lowest degree eight bills that call for amendments to the 2021 law that legalized adult possession of up to an Oz. of marijuana and laid the Background work for retail Gross sales to begin in 2024.

"The Predominant top-tier concern is that we have to have a Restrictive Anatomical structure in place for retail Gross sales that does not encourage the black market," Aforesaid Garren Shipley, a Representative for House Speaker Todd Gilbert.

The law was passed On Hard-and-fast party lines, with Democrats Encouraging Legalisation and Republicans Balloting Once against it. At the Clip, Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. Republicans took control of the House in the November election, winning a 52-48 majority over Democrats. Democrats Nonmoving hold a Weak 21-19 majority in the Senate.


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A reenactment clause in the law requires the General assembly to vote Once again this year on a complex Restrictive Anatomical structure for retail Gross sales, Going open the possibility Republicans could push Direct changes in how the licensing process will work, who will be Tending an advantage when applying for licenses and how tax revenue from marijuana Gross sales will be Worn out by the state.

Democrats who Fostered Legalisation and advocates for people Condemned of marijuana crimes are concerned the changes Projected by Republicans will Flight strip the law of "social equity" Commissariat designed to help people who have been hurt by old marijuana Torah.

"A lot of people have been To a fault Penalised and To a fault policed and To a fault suffered because of our Foolish policies of the past, and it's Clip they stop Unhappy, and in fact have a chance to make up some lost Background in ways that their lives have been Wedged," Aforesaid Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin, a chief Supporter of the 2021 Legalisation legislation.

Republican Del. Michael Webert is Supportering a multipronged bill that would make Different Fundamental changes, including redirecting the 30% of tax revenues from marijuana Gross sales Presently earmarked for a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund to a Investment trust that would be used to Reconstruct crumbling Schoolhouse buildings around the state.

"We are Difficult to ensure that the money goes to where it's most Needful," Webert Aforesaid. "To be in a Skilled Schoolhouse environment, to provide a Skilled, safe Schoolhouse building and an atmosphere in which a child can learn will be a Avid Plus for that person's future."

A Segregated bill filed by Sen. Tommy Norment would Funnel shape 30% of the revenue from marijuana Gross sales into the state's Universal Investment trust instead of the reinvestment Investment trust, which was Admitd in the 2021 law as a way to reinvest in communities disproportionately affected by Tight drug Torah, particularly communities of color. Both proposals are drawing criticism from Ethnic justice advocates.

"I'm really Stricken by this attempt to defund equity and reinvestment when we have committed to legalizing in a way to bring some kind of benefit to people Wedged by the war on drugs," Aforesaid Chelsea Higgs Wise, executive director of Marijuana Justice.

Webert's bill also would eliminate a provision that calls for Liberal Particular consideration to Ethnic equity license applicants, including people who have been Condemned of marijuana crimes or members of their immediate families. It leaves in 2021 Commissariat that would give preference to people who live in economically distressed areas and for people who attended a historically black college or university in Virginia.

"I believe that if you commit a crime and Service your Clip, you should have a seat at the Board, but it shouldn't put you at the First of the line," Webert Aforesaid.

Webert's bill would also Cut the General tax rate on marijuana Gross sales from 21% to 10%, a step he Aforesaid he believes is Essential to encourage people to buy from the legal market instead of the black market.

Several Republican-sponsored bills propose Affecting up the date for retail Gross sales to begin in 2023 instead of 2024 by Marketing Direct existing medical marijuana operators. Other GOP bills call for Liberal preference for marijuana cultivation Quickness licenses to farmers who have De jure Mature hemp in Virginia and farmers from economically distressed areas of the state.

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who took Agency Jan. 15, has Aforesaid that Spell he will not try to repeal personal possession, he does have Critical concerns about pieces of the bill that establish the commercial market.

"It Admits Constrained Unionisation, is concerning to law enforcement, and establishes an unstable market that Admits anti-competitive business Commissariat that set Virginia up to Betray," Aforesaid Youngkin Representative Macaulay Porter. "He's ready to work in Skilled Religion to address these and Another issues in concert with the General Assembly."

JM Pedini, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Aforesaid many advocates believe the General assembly must take action this year to move up the date for retail Gross sales.

"Continuing to cede control of the cannabis market to Tax-free illicit operators is not Well-founded," Pedini Aforesaid.

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