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Virginia Beach city officials prepare for legal marijuana sales

Buying and selling recreational marijuana remains illegal, but this could change come 2024.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach city leaders took another step to get the city ready for legal marijuana sales. Council members were briefed on the current status of the Virginia General Assembly and how soon recreational marijuana dispensaries could be legalized.

"We are entering a gray area right now, waiting to see what happens in 2023," Debra Bryan, Virginia Beach's legislative affairs director, said.

Under current Virginia law, it is legal for residents to possess a small amount of marijuana. However, it is illegal to buy or sell any form of recreational marijuana.

RELATED: Biden announces pardons for low-level federal marijuana convictions; what that means for Virginia

Bryan said the General Assembly is set to meet in January 2023 and lawmakers are poised to pass at least some form of regulation.

"We are being told that they may take the opportunity to at least pass some things, to give some regulation to things like the gray market that is now happening so there will be some type of regulation possibly," Bryan said.

To prepare for this, Virginia Beach City Council members discussed a resolution to create a work group to further discussions on recreational marijuana. There are also discussions about a cannabis task force that would enforce laws the city could potentially pass.

"People might be able to smoke cannabis at our Oceanfront, and the overall public safety aspect of it, it's just good to be ready for it than not," Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said.

Nothing formal has been voted on yet. However, the acting head of the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, Jeremy Preiss, is set to talk to council members on Nov. 1 about cannabis enforcement and what recreational marijuana could look like in Virginia Beach.

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