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Smokers, growers react to cannabis legislation

The medical cannabis market is thriving in Virginia, while the future of recreational cannabis, including hemp, is hazier.

Cannabis advocates and smokers are disappointed after a 2022 General Assembly session which saw lawmakers fail to expedite recreational cannabis sales and propose penalties for possessing amounts over 2 pounds—despite lawmakers making it easier to get a medical cannabis card.

“I think as far as the customer’s perception of the legislation goes, people are kind of angry,” said Christopher Haynie, co-founder of Happy Trees Agricultural Supply, which sells equipment to grow cannabis.

Retail sales

The Republican-led House of Delegates refused to pass a bipartisan Senate bill through a subcommittee that would have expedited retail sales of cannabis to September rather than waiting until the initially proposed 2024 date.

Since certain aspects of the 2021 bill were not reenacted, it is unlikely that the retail cannabis market will open in 2024 as originall...

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