On April 7, 2021, Virginia lawmakers finally agreed on a plan to legalize adult cannabis use. Back in February of this year, lawmakers passed a law legalizing adult cannabis use starting in 2024, but Governor Ralph Northam wanted to move faster.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam
Image: Craig, Flickr
Last week, Governor Northam issued a number of changes to the legalization laws (Senate Act 1406 and House Act 2312) that will significantly shorten the legalization timeframe through July this year. After lawmakers approved these changes yesterday, the state of Virginia has now finalized its legalization plans and kicked off the very first legal adult cannabis market in the South of America.
Starting July 1, 2021, adults in Virginia can own up to an ounce of cannabis and up to four plants per household. The commercial cannabis market and the associated legal framework will legalize its sale on July 1, 2024.
The law establishes the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to oversee the legal cannabis market. A five-person board of directors of this agency will develop and issue regulations and licenses. According to the law, the board can set the number of licenses with a maximum of 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 breeders and 60 manufacturers, apart from already granted licenses for the processing of medical cannabis and hemp. The board is also responsible for the licensing of test laboratories.
Vertical integration is not allowed under Virginia’s new legalization plan, but all medical cannabis licensees in the state are already vertically integrated. By law, they can maintain their vertical integration for a small fee of $ 1 million and after presenting a diversity, equity and inclusion plan.
In addition to Virginia’s normal sales tax of 6%, a state tax of 21% is levied on retail sales of adult cannabis excluding medical pharmacies. Municipalities are allowed to levy up to 3% additional taxes.