Virginia’s House of Delegates has given preliminary approval to a bill that would legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana in the commonwealth, with a final vote on the measure expected early next week.
On a voice vote, the chamber approved the the bill, HB 698 from Del. Paul Krizek (D), during second reading consideration on Friday. Advocates expect a final third reading floor vote to be held on Monday, ahead of the legislature’s crossover deadline the next day.
A competing measure, meanwhile, is advancing in the Senate, having passed out of committee on Thursday. If both bills clear their respective chambers, lawmakers will either need to pick one or work to merge provisions of the two together.
“Both bills are rapidly approaching the finish line in their respective chambers ahead of the looming crossover deadline,” said JM Pedini, development director for the advocacy organization NORML and executive director of the group’s Virginia chapter.
Advocates are now working to build consensus on how to move forward. As the legislative session goes on, they expect lawmakers will eventually attempt to blend the two bills into one.
“After crossover, we can expect to see each chamber amend the other’s bill with
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