Many people – including yours truly – have been wondering why the process of legalizing marijuana in Virginia is going to take three years. Isn’t there any way to do this faster? During a legislative update the other day, with Delegates Patrick Hope and Alfonso Lopez, the issue came up (see below for video). Here’s Del. Hope’s explanation for the marijuana legalization timeline:
“We’re on track to full legalization, probably by July of 2024…You might be asking yourself, why is it taking so long to fully legalize marijuana up until 2024? It’s because we’re setting up this new authority. Governor Northam initially thought that he wanted the ABC stores – alcohol beverage control board – to oversee the legalization of marijuana, to sell it in stores and whatnot. And we’ve decided that instead we’re going to create a new authority. So it does take some time to go ahead and set that up; it actually delays us at least another year.
The other thing that they want to do in a very conscientiousness about this, is to make sure that those that can be eligible for licenses to sell marijuana, it’s equitable. So we give not these big businesses the opportunity to go in – and you can imagine if we just flip the switch for legalization that these big businesses would be able to go in and and really control the entire market – so we wanted to give it some time so that we can have those that have been really the subject of overpolicing of marijuana, those minority communities have the opportunity to own a little bit of of the process – maybe it’s farming, maybe it’s part of the distribution or the selling or what what goes into it. They have an opportunity to to be eligible and qualify be part of it as well too.”