Virginia Legislature Divided on State Lawmakers’ Push of Two Marijuana Bills

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, many state lawmakers pushed two (2) marijuana bills that could introduce adult-use sales by 2024 and permit licensed businesses to obtain tax deductions banned under U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

However, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has expressed concerns over expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include recreational sales. These two marijuana bills face an uphill struggle in a divided Legislature that Gov. Youngkin happens to lead himself.

On signing legislation to establish a framework for permitting the recreational sale of marijuana in Virginia, Youngkin cited that legislation dealing with consumer safety and regulations on Delta-8 THC and hemp is more concerning for him.

The first marijuana bill would enable medical marijuana dispensaries to market adult-use products starting January 1, 2024, but a derailed consensus could likely happen via taxation and social equity provisions.

On the other hand, the second bill would let cannabis operators deduct specific taxes banned under the federal tax code, particularly IRC Section 280E. There is a possibility that this certain measure would dissociate state cannabis operators from the U.S. tax code, especially those that are operating in other states like New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Concerning the formation of recreational marijuana sales in Virginia, multiple such attempts got delayed for almost two (2) years since former state Democratic Governor Ralph Northam signed in April 2021 legislation to legalize the potential adult-use market amounting to roughly $1.4 billion.

License holders in Virginia waited for legislative progress to enact state-wide adult-use sales and, as a result of the delay, decided to expand the operations of their medical marijuana business.

Muhammad Bam

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