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Lawmakers in Virginia Disagree on Hashish Conviction Re-Sentencing |

Grownup-use hashish gross sales might start subsequent 12 months in Virginia, however lawmakers within the commonwealth stay at loggerheads over what to do about people at the moment incarcerated on pot-related prices. 

The Virginia Mercury reported {that a} committee of state Senate and Home members “tasked with making suggestions for the legislative session that begins Wednesday concluded its work this week with a proposal to start leisure gross sales in 2023—a 12 months sooner than initially deliberate,” however these lawmakers “mentioned they ran out of time to achieve an settlement” with reference to re-sentencing for hashish convictions.

The present state of play in Virginia appears to be like fairly completely different than it did final spring, when a Democratic-controlled normal meeting handed a invoice that made Virginia the primary state within the south to legalize leisure pot. 

Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam signed the invoice into regulation, hailing it as a brand new day for felony justice within the commonwealth.

“What this actually means is that folks will now not be arrested or face penalties for easy possession that observe them and have an effect on their lives,” Northam mentioned on the time. “We all know that marijuana legal guidelines in Virginia and all through this nation have been disproportionately enforced towards communities of coloration and low-income Virginians.”

Final week, as lawmakers convened within the capital metropolis of Richmond, the GOP formally assumed management over one-half of the final meeting. And on Saturday, the Republican Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as the brand new governor of Virginia. 

The advice from the Hashish Oversight Fee to start hashish gross sales subsequent 12 months got here final week forward of the opening of the legislative session.

Youngkin mentioned in an interview earlier this month that he “is not going to search to overturn the regulation on private possession,” however the governor-elect—who defeated the Democrat Terry McAuliffe in November—balked with reference to pot gross sales.

“In relation to commercialization, I believe there may be loads of work to be performed. I’m not towards it, however there’s loads of work to be performed,” Youngkin instructed Virginia Enterprise. “There are some nonstarters, together with the pressured unionization that’s within the present invoice. There have been considerations expressed by regulation enforcement in how the hole within the legal guidelines can truly be enforced. Lastly, there’s an actual have to ensure that we aren’t selling an anti-competitive trade. I do perceive that there are preferences to ensure that all members within the trade are certified to do the trade properly.”

The topic of methods to deal with people at the moment serving time for hashish didn’t come up in that interview, nor was it addressed by the legislative committee final week.

The Virginia Mercury reported that the “Virginia Division of Corrections says 10 persons are at the moment serving sentences through which essentially the most critical offense was marijuana,” and that in “all the instances, the folks have been convicted of transporting 5 or extra kilos of marijuana into the state.”

“All 10 are anticipated to be launched within the subsequent six years, based on the division, which offered the information Monday to the meeting’s Hashish Oversight Fee,” based on the report. “One other 560 persons are serving sentences partially associated to a marijuana offense however have additionally been discovered responsible of extra critical offenses.”

Within the interview with Virginia Enterprise earlier this month, Youngkin did talk about the potential financial windfall from legalization, significantly for minority communities.

“I’m all for alternatives for minority-owned companies, women-owned companies [and] military-owned companies,” he mentioned. “We additionally need to ensure that they’ve the capabilities to compete and thrive within the trade. So, I believe there’s work to be performed. All of that shall be on the desk. Once more, I don’t look to overturn the invoice, however I believe we have to ensure that it really works.”

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