Governor Ralph Northam recently announced appointments to three newly created boards responsible for overseeing the legalization of recreational marijuana in the commonwealth. This spring, Virginia became the first Southern state to pass adult-use cannabis legislation, with changes that went into effect July 1.
The new law legalizes simple possession and home cultivation for adults 21 and over, seals some marijuana-related legal records, and creates a new independent state entity, the Cannabis Control Authority (CCA), to regulate the cannabis market. In coming years, the General Assembly must re-enact sections of the bill and the CCA must implement regulations before legal sales of cannabis can begin.
“Virginia is committed to legalizing cannabis the right way—by learning from other states, by listening to public health experts, and by centering social equity,” said Governor Northam. “There is a tremendous amount of work ahead to establish an adult-use marijuana market in our commonwealth, and I am proud to appoint these talented Virginians who will bring diverse backgrounds, an incredible amount of depth of expertise, and a shared commitment to public service to this important effort.”
The three boards include:
CANNABIS CONTROL AUTHORITY
The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) is a regulatory agency for the legal cannabis market in Virginia. The CCA is led by a five-member Board of Directors responsible for the creation of the adult-use marketplace for cannabis and is statutorily vested with control of the regulated sale, transportation, and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products in the Commonwealth.
Included on this board are:
- Michael Jerome Massie, Esquire of Portsmouth—Owner, Michael Jerome Massie, PC
- Neil Amin of Henrico—Chief Executive Officer, Shamin Hotels
- Bette Brand of Roanoke—Chief Executive Officer, Strategic Consulting LLC
- Rasheeda N. Creighton of Richmond—Co-Founder, The Jackson Ward Collective
- Shane Emmett of Midlothian—Co-Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer, Health Warrior
CANNABIS EQUITY REINVESTMENT BOARD
Virginia’s adult-use cannabis law dictates that 30 percent of tax revenues from cannabis sales—a predicted $7.8 to 12.9 million in 2024 and $38.4 to 63.9 million in 2028—to a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund. The fund will be managed by the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board and will be used to provide resources to communities that have experienced disproportionate enforcement of drug laws and economic disinvestment. The board will have a total of 20 members consisting of 13 non-legislative citizens and seven ex officio members, including:
- Vickie R. Williams-Cullins of Hampton—Executive Director, OPN-Door Communications LLC
- Jorge Figueredo, MPP of Falls Church—Executive Director, Edu-Futuro
- Amari Harris of Richmond—Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Attorney, Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
- W. Anthony West of Roanoke—Chief Operations Officer, Virginia CARES (Community Action Re-Entry System)
- Sheba Williams of Richmond—Executive Director, Nolef Turns, Inc.
CANNABIS PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY BOARD
The 21-person Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council is an expert advisory council to the CCA Board of Directors. It will assess and monitor public health issues, trends, and impacts related to marijuana and marijuana legalization, and make recommendations regarding health warning, retail marijuana, product safety and composition, public health awareness, programming, and related resources.
Included on this board are:
- Ngiste Abebe of Richmond—Vice President of Public Policy, Columbia Care
- Larry Keen II of Petersburg—Associate Professor, College of Health and Natural Sciences, Department of Psychology, Virginia State University
- Cynthia Morrow, Md, MPH, of Roanoke—Health Director, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts
- Marcus Treiber of Leesburg—Chief Executive Officer, EMT Holdings LLC
For additional information, answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available at www.cannabis.virginia.gov.