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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed a bill on Thursday that sought to create a legal market for recreational marijuana in Virginia, citing health and safety concerns.

In a statement, Governor Younkin said, “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.”

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The bill, which had passed through the Virginia House and Senate last month, aimed to set up a state-regulated marketplace for recreational marijuana by May 1, 2025. This would have involved accepting applications for cultivation, testing, and selling marijuana starting September 1. However, Governor Youngkin raised concerns that the legislation would neither curb the illegal black-market sale of cannabis nor ensure product safety.

This move comes nearly three years after Virginia made history as the first Southern state to legalize marijuana, allowing adults 21 and older to possess and cultivate the drug. Despite this, ongoing disagreements over policy have impeded the launch of retail sales, contributing to continued illicit sales in the state.

The veto of the recreational marijuana bill was among seven pieces of legislation Youngkin rejected on Thursday. Earlier in the week, Youngkin vetoed an “assault weapons” ban and several other gun control bills. He said, “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.”


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