Youngkin vetoes bill setting up sale of recreational marijuana in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have established a legal market for the sale of recreational marijuana in the Old Dominion state.

The proposed law, which would have created a state-regulated marketplace for recreational marijuana, “endangers Virginians’ health and safety,” Youngkin argued in his veto statement.

“States following this path have seen adverse effects on children’s and adolescent’s health and safety, increased gang activity and violent crime, significant deterioration in mental health, decreased road safety, and significant costs associated with retail marijuana that far exceed tax revenue,” he said.

Youngkin argued the law would not have eliminated the illegal black-market sale of cannabis or guarantee product safety.

The legislation, passed by the Virginia House and Senate last month, would have allowed the state to begin accepting applications on Sept. 1 for cultivation, testing and selling marijuana for the market to open on May 1, 2025, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The law came nearly three years after Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana through a policy change that permitted adults 21 and older to possess and cultivate the drug.

Disagreement over policy has stalled retail sales from the beginning in Virginia, which critics argue is helping continue illicit sales in the state, the news wire added.

Youngkin did not previously indicate how he would act on the legislation and repeatedly said the policy issue was something he did not have an “interest in.”

“I want us to work on areas where we can find a meeting of the mind and press forward to the betterment of Virginia, and there are so many of them,” he told reporters in January, per the AP.

The bill was among seven pieces of legislation Youngkin chose to veto on Thursday. His office said these bills “would legalize the sale of drugs, weaken public safety and arbitrarily set labor prices.”

He signed 100 other bills on Thursday, his office confirmed.

Earlier this week, Youngkin vetoed an assault weapons ban and a series of other gun control bills as part of a 30-bill veto session on Tuesday.

“I swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Virginia, and that absolutely includes protecting the right of law-abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms,” Youngkin said in a statement Tuesday.

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