February 28, 2022 News & Press Releases

Virginia Republicans Block Legal Cannabis Sales, Leaving Black Market Unchecked

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Governor Youngkin and Republicans Break Key Promise to Virginians

Richmond, VA – Republicans in the House of Delegates today killed legislation establishing a legal cannabis retail market in Virginia. The bill followed the legalization of cannabis signed by Governor Ralph Northam in 2021 and the Cannabis Oversight Commission’s recommendation in December to approve retail sales. It passed in the Virginia Senate on a bipartisan basis earlier this month and would have allowed for safer cannabis use and large tax revenues for the Commonwealth. Under the legislation killed today, Virginia would have stood up the legal marketplace by September 2022, cracking down on the illicit market and keeping Virginians safe.

House Republicans promised they would pass this legislation earlier this year - in fact a spokesperson for House Speaker Todd Gilbert said in January that retail sales legislation “is going to come out of this chamber.” Gov. Youngkin also promised Virginians on the campaign trail that he would not roll back our progress on legalization - another example of the governor lying to and misleading Virginians about his true intentions. 

Virginia voters support legal cannabis sales by a wide margin. In a Christopher Newport University poll last year, 68% of Virginians said they were in favor of legalization, including the majority of both Democrats and Republicans and majorities of every age demographic. 

“Today’s vote to kill a legal marijuana marketplace comes after years of research and debate on this topic, and Republicans came into this session with no ideas or solutions on this matter,” said DPVA spokesperson Gianni Snidle. “Today, we could have ended the illicit marijuana market, and instead, the black market will not continue to thrive, putting Virginians at risk.”