Retail marijuana bill advances despite abstentions by area legislators – Smithfield TimesPosted by On

Retail marijuana bill advances despite abstentions by area legislators

Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Area legislators are on the fence about supporting a bill that would create a legal retail marijuana market.

State Sen. Emily Jordan, R-Isle of Wight, joined Democrats in a 10-5 Jan. 26 vote by the Senate’s Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee to advance a bill sponsored by Sen. Aaron Rouse, D-Virginia Beach, to empower the 2021-created Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to begin issuing marijuana licenses this July. Retail sales would begin Jan. 1, 2025.

Jordan and Sen. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, however, abstained from a Jan. 31 vote when the bill reached the Courts of Justice Committee.

Rouse’s Senate Bill 448 passed Courts of Justice in a party-line 7-5 vote despite Jordan’s and Aird’s abstentions. Sens. Scott Surrovell, Creigh Deeds, Jennifer Boysko, Lamont Bagby, Russet Perry and Saddam Azlan Salim, all Democrats, supported the bill while Sens. Mark Obenshain, Ryan McDougle, Richard Stewart, William Stanley and Mark Peake, all Republicans, opposed it.

Jordan was one of two Republicans – Sen. Christie Craig, R-Chesapeake, was the other – to advance the bill from Rehab and…

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