Marijuana is now legal in Virginia. Advocates are already pushing for changes to the law. – Virginia Mercury

Workers at gLeaf Medical tend to plants in a grow room at the Richmond medical marijuana dispensary. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

As of today, marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older to possess, consume and grow in Virginia. But unless a doctor has signed off on a prescription, there’s no legal way to buy it.

Lawmakers have set a 2024 target to begin retail sales to recreational users, a runway the legislation’s authors say is necessary to establish the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, which will regulate the new market.

But some legalization advocates are hoping the General Assembly will agree to speed up that time frame.

“Our priority in the 2022 legislative session is to expedite retail access for adult consumers, both through already operational medical dispensaries and by moving up the date VCCA can begin issuing new licenses,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.

What Virginia’s marijuana legalization bill actually says

The medical dispensaries had lobbied to be allowed to begin selling to recreational customers beginning this year, but lawmakers resisted, worrying it would give the companies an unfair head start in a market where

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