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Competing Marijuana Sales Bills Move Forward In Virginia’s House And Senate, Though Key Differences Remain

Both chambers of Virginia’s legislature have now given at least preliminary approval to separate plans that would legalize retail marijuana sales in the commonwealth. Significant differences remain between the competing proposals, however, which lawmakers will need to hammer out before sending any bill to the desk of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R).

Meanwhile, measures on resentencing people with prior cannabis convictions and preventing the legal use of marijuana from denying parental visitation or custody rights also moved forward ahead of a crossover deadline this week.

As for the legal sales measures, the Senate gave on initial approval to a bill in that chamber—SB 448—on a voice vote Monday. A final vote to formally send the measure to the House of Delegates is expected Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the House, for its part, voted 52–48 on third reading for final passage of a competing legal sales bill, HB 698. The vote fell almost entirely along partly lines, with only one Republican—Del. Chris Obenshain—voting for the proposal.

Pending final passage of the Senate legislation this week, each bill will move to the opposite chamber, where lawmakers are expected to make further amendments, setting up likely bicameral negotiations in a conference committee.


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