Gov. Youngkin shares why he vetoed retail marijuana sales bill

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) made a highly anticipated decision to veto a bill that would allow for the retail sales of marijuana on Thursday.

“I have been communicating since the beginning of session that I have no interest in this bill,” Youngkin said. “Cannabis is bad for Virginia, and I think we should work on something else together.”

Youngkin told 10 News that he’s concerned about how the bill would affect Virginians. He thinks the substance being sold on the retail market would create expenses more than it would generate tax revenue.

He said a legalized commercial market would harm youth, despite age checks before purchase.

“The top states in adolescent cannabis use are the first states to have established a legalized commercial market,” Youngkin said. “What we see, of course, is that use translates into increased mental health challenges.”

Youngkin believes marijuana would continue to be sold on the black market, no matter if it’s sold legally.

“In California, the legalized commercial market only represents 10% of the cannabis market, and, of course, that illegal black market only fosters violent gang activity,” Youngkin said.

Supporters of the bill said they’re disappointed. They said the legislation would have regulated the substance for consumer safety.

“With this legislation, Virginia had the opportunity to take marijuana off the street corner and place it behind an age-verified counter where the state could strictly regulate it for consumer safety and ensure it isn’t packaged in a manner appealing to those under 21,” JM Pedini, development director for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said. “Whether knowingly or not, with his veto Governor Youngkin will continue driving Virginians to the illicit market.”

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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