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Oversight groups being created ahead of Virginia’s marijuana legalization

Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Right now, steps are being taken to make sure the Commonwealth is ready when marijuana becomes legal on July 1. Several oversight groups are being created to ensure safety and enforcement with lawmakers, community organizations and everyday people being tapped to serve.

“We already know the market exists. Why not from a practical standpoint, increase the consumer safety of that product,” said Sen. Jeremy McPike.

On July 1, adults can legally have up to an ounce of marijuana on their person. On that date, people can also grow up to 4 plants in their homes. Safeguards are being put in place to help regulate this brand new industry.

One of them is the Cannabis Control Board. Governor Northam will appoint 5 people to serve. The board will oversee enforcement, which will be especially important when businesses are able to sell marijuana in 2024.

“Those licenses can be pulled {for} selling unpackaged stuff, selling a tainted product, any of those things, those could jeopardize that business’ license,” McPike said.

He’s worked hard on the legislation to get Virginia to this point.

“We want to cultivate literally and figuratively new businesses here in Virginia.”

That’s why he’s excited to see the Commonwealth also creating a Public Health Advisory Board. Twenty-one people will serve on it including “Representatives from organizations such as the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Medical Society of Virginia, The Pharmacists Association of Virginia,” McPike said.

They’ll all work to give input as Virginia tries something new.

There’s one more group that will be weighing in. “A new Cannabis Oversight Commission consisting of 10 members of the General Assembly…to ensure that we get this right. This is really important. This is a big change in Virginia law, a new industry is set up. We want to make sure it’s safe,” he added.

One focus will be on creating equal opportunity for retail. That includes giving Virginia farmers a chance to cash in. Senator McPike says advocates don’t want to see a big company come in and monopolize the industry.

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