US (VA): "More action is required to shape policy on the newly legalized plant"

Cannabis regulation met the stopping power of partisan politics during the 2022 Virginia General Assembly session, but lawmakers said more action is required to shape policy on the newly legalized plant.

Out of more than 25 cannabis-related bills filed by state lawmakers this year, only two passed the divided legislature and were signed into law by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, according to data from Virginia NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Those two bills dealt with medical cannabis definitions.

The only other bill passed by the Republican-majority House and the Democratic-majority Senate was House Bill 591, carried by Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta. That bill, which originally sought to limit the shape of cannabis edibles, failed in the Senate during the legislature’s reconvened session this week, after Democrats pushed back against amendments proposed by Youngkin, Hanger said.

“That particular bill will not move forward as SB 591,” Hanger said. “But, we’ve been working on a plan to take care of the substance of the bill after the session. Maybe in special session, or during the budget negotiations. At some point.” Hanger intends to introduce more stringent regulations to a gray-area aspect of the consumable hemp industry. Products containing synthesized Delta-8 THC are abundantly available in gas stations, smoke shops, and convenience stores, but adults don’t always realize the effects of what they’re buying, and children have ingested the unregulated, hemp-based edible products, Hanger said.

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