During the first day of the 2024 General Assembly session, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made his position clear: he is not in favor of having a retail cannabis market in Virginia. Virginia legalized the possession of cannabis for individuals aged 21 and above more than two years ago. Recent legislation allows Virginians to purchase cannabis from state dispensaries for medical purposes only, but it remains illegal for recreational use. After giving his State of the Commonwealth address to the Virginia General Assembly, Youngkin was asked if he would support the opening of a retail market for recreational sales. Youngkin responded saying that he has no interest in this matter. He highlighted that what he wants is for them to focus on areas where they can find a meeting of the minds and work for the betterment of Virginia.

When asked if he would veto a cannabis market bill that reached his desk, which would be his only way of preventing it from being passed, given that Democrats currently control the legislature, Youngkin reiterated that he has no interest in it. Earlier in the day, Virginia Senate and House Democrats stated in a press conference that they still consider cannabis a priority, and several are carrying legislation in 2024 to establish a recreational market.

Democrats argue that the existence of an unregulated market allows consumers to risk violating Virginia's cannabis laws, endangering their lives and the lives of children. Virginia House Majority Leader Charniele L. Herring believes that it is a significant public safety issue that necessitates a regulated market. Herring cautioned Youngkin about the implications of vetoing the bill. If a bill reaches his desk and he vetoes it, it may send the wrong message to the public about their safety.

It remains unknown if Democrats can use their influence in the General Assembly to negotiate the creation of a cannabis market with Youngkin and Republicans. L. Louise Lucas, Virginia Senate's president pro-tempore, has indicated that she would seek negotiations for the establishment of a recreational cannabis market and funding for toll relief and public schools in Hampton Roads, which would serve as leverage in negotiations over a new sports hub in northern Virginia that Youngkin wants.

In the two years that Youngkin has been in office, he has not taken a definite position on creating a retail cannabis market in Virginia. Instead, he has focused on cracking down on establishments selling intoxicating hemp-derived products and establishing more possession penalties in the law. However, State Republicans align their policies with Youngkin and do not support any proposals from Democrats on establishing recreational cannabis markets. The House Republican Caucus' spokesperson, Garren Shipley, revealed that he was not aware that any GOP delegates were considering partnering with Democrats on a bipartisan proposal.
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