Virginia is preparing for recreational marijuana sales, even though the cannabismarket for adults 21 and over is not likely to launch before 2024, reported 13News Now.
Meanwhile, officials from Virginia Beach have proposed setting up a “Marijuana Task Force,” to inform businesses planning to sell recreational cannabis about the conditions under which sales would be regarded as legal.
“This isn’t about the for’s or againsts of recreational marijuana,” said Randy Thompson, vice chair of the Resort Advisory Committee. “It’s more about how can we make this a positive experience for the resort area.”
Currently, the Virginia law only allows possession, use and cultivation of marijuana. Lawmakers from both chambers approved a bill to legalize the commercial marijuana program last year, making it the 16th state to legalize recreational weed.
City Councilmember Michael Berlucchi seconded Thompson’s idea of setting protocols in place that would regulate the number of dispensaries and their proximity to schools.
“It is our responsibility to be responsible, to be strategic with this,” said Berlucchi. “It’s an issue that is going to affect our entire city and the entire community, and I want to make sure we have the chance to bring everyone to the table so that we can do the best thing for our Virginia Beach community.”
Cannabis supply leaders also are responding to news of the possible task force. Ryan Boyce, co-owner of GROW VA, a supplier of cannabis, said they would like to be a part of that discussion.
“As a business owner, I can say that clarity would be the best thing,” said Boyce. “Because then the people who are trying to do it correctly, can take those steps to do it correctly.”
Boyce said there is a common ground where would-be distributors would also want what is best for Virginia Beach residents. He said there are many companies who would be happy to fill out the forms and follow the rules, but they need to know them first.
“We have been following this for a long time now and each time the answer is a little different,” said Boyce. “I hope they reach out to local companies like us first and listen to us, and help us to destigmatize marijuana.”
Local groups may have to wait for a lengthy time.
Berlucchi said there is still much work that needs to be done on the proposal. It is not expected to be on any agenda for several weeks.