At the start of 2019, it looked like Virginia was finally ready to gain ground on the issue of cannabis legalization. On the agenda for the first legislative session were two bills to legalize and decriminalize cannabis. But the lawmaker who introduced them has admitted defeat. Virginia House Delegate Stephen Heretick, a Democrat representing the state’s 79th District, has vowed to continue the fight for adult-use legalization in Virginia. Meanwhile, other pro-legalization lawmakers are turning their attention to expanding access to the state’s legal medical cannabis products.
Pro-Legalization Lawmakers Keep the Pressure On in the Virginia House
Virginia House Delegates in favor of legalizing cannabis for adults have vowed to continue introducing adult-use bills. But so far, 2019’s reform efforts have failed to garner enough support to pass the Virginia legislature. Lawmakers have tried multiple approaches. Delegate Stephen Heretick’s HB 2371 aimed high, proposing to establish a regulated cultivation, distribution and retail industry. HB 2371 would have set broad personal limits for personal possession and use, including authorizations for home cultivation. It also proposed a “seed-to-sale” tracking system, a 15 percent tax rate and a public consumption ban.
Other proposals represented a smaller departure from the norm. HB 2079, for