Marijuana; legalization of simple possession; penalties.
Eliminates criminal penalties for possession of marijuana for persons who are 21 years of age or older. The bill also modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana and provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes. The bill establishes a regulatory scheme for the
regulation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, marijuana wholesalers, and retail marijuana stores by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, renamed as the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control Authority. The bill imposes a tax on retail marijuana, retail marijuana products, and marijuana paraphernalia sold by a retail marijuana store, as well as non-retail marijuana and non-retail marijuana products at a rate of 21 percent and provides that localities may by ordinance levy a three percent tax on any such marijuana or marijuana products. The bill provides that net profits attributable to regulatory activities of the Authority's Board of Directors pursuant to this bill shall be appropriated as follows: (i) 40 percent to pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk three and four year olds, (ii) 30 percent to the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund, established in the bill, (iii) 25 percent to substance use disorder prevention and treatment programs, and (iv) five percent to public health programs. The bill creates the Cannabis Control Advisory Board, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board, and the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023, with provisions for the Authority's Board of Directors to promulgate regulations for the implementation of the bill and for implementation of the automatic expungement process to begin in due course. In addition, the bill establishes three work groups to begin their efforts in due course: one focused on public health and safety issues, one focused on providing resources for teachers in elementary and secondary schools, and one focused on college-aged individuals. See H. B. 2312 General Laws Substitute PDF text: