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Could state lawmakers finally implement a marijuana marketplace?


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As lawmakers prepare to return to the Capitol, one issue is certain to come up again in the next General Assembly — marijuana. It’s now legal to possess small amounts of marijuana in Virginia. But nobody has a license to sell it because the General Assembly has repeatedly failed to create a system for licensing authorized retailers.


JM Pedini at Virginia NORML says the new Democratic majority will be constrained by a Republican governor, who has the power to veto or amend anything they send to him.

"That's the million-dollar question," Pedini says. "Can they get a bill to the governor that he will sign or at least let take effect?"


Previous efforts have included social equity licenses – prioritizing people who have a criminal record for breaking drug laws that no longer exist. Dylan Bishop is a lobbyist who has worked on this issue for years.


"I think Republicans have a fundamental and moral issue with having folks that have a criminal record of some sort automatically put to the front of the line to get a license over somebody that may have a totally clear criminal record," says Bishop.


Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed frustration with the current situation, although, so far, no consensus has emerged about what to do next.

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