Virginia marijuana legalization bills head to conference committee for compromise – Inside NoVA
(The Center Square) — Debate over legislation to legalize marijuana in Virginia will head into next week as Democratic lawmakers try to reach a compromise on various approaches through a joint conference committee.
House and Senate lawmakers passed their own versions of marijuana legalization, but key differences in local authority, timing and licensing principles need to be hashed out before they could create agreed-upon legislation.
Both versions would legalize the cultivation, sale and transport of marijuana by 2024, but differ on when ownership will be fully legalized. The House version would legalize possession at precisely the identical time of sale, while the Senate version would legalize possession beginning in June of this year. Marijuana possession is currently decriminalized in Virginia and simple possession will only land a person a $25 fine.
The Senate version would incorporate an opt-out clause for local authorities, which would let them prohibit the sale of marijuana in their jurisdictionnonetheless, ownership would still be legal . The House version wouldn’t let localities opt out, but would subject marijuana sales to local zoning laws.
License capacity restrictions for marijuana would also be less strict in the Senate version than the House version.