A Virginia House subcommittee advanced amended legislation on Friday that would allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries and some small businesses to begin selling cannabis to all adults 21 and older as of next January, with plans to license other retailers over the course of 2025.
To take advantage of the early opening date, a medical business would need to “accelerate” six microbusinesses, each of which would get $400,000 in aid under the current version of the legislation. Microbusiness licenses, in turn, would need to be at least two-thirds directly controlled by people who meet certain social equity criteria, with priority given to people meeting multiple criteria.
After adopting a 54-page substitute amendment to the bill, HB 698, and approving subsequent changes during the hearing, the subcommittee of the House General Laws Committee voted 5–0 to report the bill favorably back to the full committee, with one member abstaining.
If enacted in its current form, dozens of marijuana retail stores could open across the state on January 1, 2025.
Del. Paul Krizek (D), who chairs the subcommittee and is the lead sponsor of the measure, said his proposal closely follows the implementation of legal sales in Maryland, “such as slowly rolling out the marketplace, making the product affordable through a low tax rate, using the medical companies to pick up the slack initially and having a rigorous and well-funded social program, which endeavors to assist those…