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Marijuana bills stall in Virginia's GOP-controlled House

Republicans in the House of Delegates said they will instead wait for the Democrat-controlled Senate to send its own bill over.

RICHMOND, Va. — As the Virginia General Assembly reaches the halfway point of this year’s session, possible changes to the state’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana have stalled in the GOP-controlled House.

Majority leader Terry Kilgore says he doesn't expect the House to vote on its own measures before the Tuesday deadline for each chamber to complete work on its own legislation. He says the caucus will wait for the Democrat-controlled Senate to send its own bill over.

Last year, lawmakers passed legislation legalizing adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and creating a path for retail sales to begin in 2024.

Lawmakers now need to decide when retail sales of marijuana should be allowed, how much cannabis should be taxed, where tax revenue goes, and many other factors that make up the complicated issue.

JM Pedini, executive director for advocacy group Virginia NORML, told 13News Now progress hinges on what the Virginia Senate decides next week.

"Democrats missed a real opportunity to wrap this up last year, and instead chose to prolong the issue with the reenactment clause," Pedini said. "They're now facing a divided government, finding peace in the valley on this issue is even more difficult."

House Republicans have proposed some cannabis legislation, but staffers for these delegates told 13News Now they don’t know what will happen to these bills.

As for tax revenue, legislation passed last year would send money to minority communities disproportionately impacted by previous marijuana law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Republicans have proposed alternatives this session, such as using it for school repairs.

Pedini said major compromise will be needed to move marijuana laws forward.

"We would be the first state to pass a bipartisan legalization measure through the legislature," they said.

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