Virginia’s Legislature recently passed a measure that would legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. The Senate passed the initiative in a 20–19 vote while the House approved it in a 48–43 vote, making Virginia the only state in the Old South to allow legalization. It should be noted that not one Republican in either chamber voted for the measure.
Democratic Majority Leader Del. Charniele Herring, who sponsored the measure, stated on the floor that to her, the legislation was a justice bill, adding that while it still had flaws, it represented a step in the right direction.
While cannabis sales will not begin until 2024, Virginia is now the 16th state in America to approve an adult-use cannabis legalization bill. Apart from Virginia, Vermont and Illinois are the two other states that have approved bills to regulate, tax and legalize recreational cannabis through the legislature.
Under the compromise bill, cannabis for recreational use would still not be legal until January 2024, when regulated sales are scheduled to commence. The state will establish a cannabis regulatory agency this July.
Earlier in April 2020, the state’s Governor Ralph Northam approved a legislation that decriminalized cannabis possession, with the law taking effect on July 1 last year. Legislators approved a legislation this session that would broaden the state’s medical cannabis program to permit cannabis flower products. The first medical cannabis dispensary in the state was launched in August 2020.
Gov. Northam stated last year that he supported legalization, urging legislators to approve his proposal during his state of the state address. The bill was based off of a pair of comprehensive studies on the issue: a report from the independent Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee and his administration’s report on the matter.
The measures made their rounds in the chambers, with legislators addressing various issues, including how to handle automatic expungements of cannabis offenses and how to prevent big corporations from monopolizing the cannabis market in the state.
The legislation encompasses strong social equity provisions, which include the prioritization of business licenses for people considered to have been disproportionately affected by criminal enforcement. The bill would also permit individuals who are 21 years or older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, while also allowing individuals to grow up to four plants per household.
Additionally, the bill imposes a 21% excise tax on cannabis, with the tax revenues generated being directed to fund substance use disorder treatment programs, prekindergarten education and other public health initiatives.
Meanwhile, other states that legalized cannabis earlier are also seeing the list of successful industry players growing. For example, Grapefruit USA Inc. (OTCQB: GPFT), based in California, excels at manufacturing cannabis distillates using the ethanol extraction method, and these distillates find use in lots of different applications, such as in tinctures and cannabis-infused edibles.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Grapefruit USA Inc. (OTCQB: GPFT) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://cnw.fm/GPFT
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