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Why Virginians Won't Be Able to Legally Buy Cannabis Any Time Soon

Maybe there's hope for 2023.

By
This story originally appeared on Benzinga

It seems that Virginians won’t be able to legally buy cannabis just yet, as a House of Delegates subcommittee voted down legislation that would allow recreational marijuana sales that were meant to begin this September.

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Earlier in February, the Senate passed a 451-page bill that would allow current medical cannabis and hemp businesses to enter the adult-use market.

RELATED: Sweet Virginia Is the First Southern State to Legalize Marijuana

Pushing for recreational sales

Under the bill from Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), the three companies that currently control Virginia’s medical marijuana market (MMJ) as well as up to ten registered industrial hemp processors would be allowed to sell recreational cannabis, while other retailers would have to wait nearly 15 months, until January of 2024.

With a GOP-controlled committee opposing it, that legislation was killed on a party-line vote, Marijuana Moment reported.

“I think this is a bigger issue than we can correct in two weeks’ time,” Del. Jay Leftwich, R-Chesapeake, said.

Lawmakers still at an impasse

While the General Assembly voted last year to allow people to possess and grow cannabis, to this day lawmakers have been unable to come to an understanding.

Democrats, whose initial goal was to launch sales in 2024, but later decided that waiting that long is not an option, are now urging their GOP colleagues to reconsider.

“The longer we wait to have a regulated market, the harder it will be to compete with that illicit market,” Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, said.

Republicans promised to revisit the issue sometime next year, with mid to late 2023 being the earliest retail sales could begin.