Governor Ralph Northam announced appointments to the three newly-created boards that oversee marijuana legalization in Virginia.
On July 1, recreational marijuana became legal for adult use in Virginia.
“Virginia is committed to legalizing cannabis the right way—by learning from other states, by listening to public health and safety 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 depth of expertise, and a shared commitment to public service to this important effort.”
Cannabis Control Authority (CCA)
The CCA is led by a five-member Board of Directors responsible for the creation of the adult-use marketplace for cannabis. This board is responsible and in control of regulating the sale, transportation, and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products in the Commonwealth.
They will work to develop a workforce, establish regulations, and ensure that marijuana legalization accomplishes the health, safety, and equity goals established by law.
Board members cannot have financial interests in the cannabis industry. The governor appointed all five members of the Board:
- Neil Amin of Henrico, Chief Executive Officer, Shamin Hotels – Chair
- Michael Jerome Massie, Esq. of Portsmouth, Owner, Michael Jerome Massie, PC – Vice Chair
- 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
The new law dedicates 30 percent of tax revenue from cannabis sales. This is predicted to be $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 20-person Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board and used to provide resources to communities that have experienced disproportionate enforcement of drug laws and economic disinvestment. The board will support locally designed and community-based responses that include grants for workforce development, apprenticeship, and reentry programs, and scholarships for historically marginalized individuals.
“We are intentionally constructing an equitable blueprint that will embed equity and inclusion at every stage and every level of the marijuana legalization process,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity Officer to Governor Northam, who will chair the Board. “The Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board will serve as an important voice for Virginians and help elevate resources to the persons, communities, and families most negatively impacted by the disparate enforcement of marijuana laws and ensure that equity remains at the forefront of legalization in Virginia.”
The law allows Northam to make five appointments to the board, including one representative from the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission and four representatives of a community-based provider or community development organization. The General Assembly will make eight additional appointments, including someone who has been previously incarcerated or convicted of a marijuana-related crime, a veteran, a representative from one of Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities, an entrepreneur, and experts in public health with experience in trauma-informed care, education with a focus on access to opportunities for youth in underserved communities, Virginia’s foster care system, and workforce development.
For more information on the board, click here.
Cannabis Public Health Advisory Board
The 21-person Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council is an expert advisory council to the CCA.
The board will assess and monitor public health issues, trends, and impacts related to marijuana and marijuana legalization and make recommendations regarding health warnings, retail marijuana and product safety and composition, and public health awareness, programming, and related resources.
They must approve any health-related regulations before the CCA can finalize them.
The Governor is to make four appointments, which must include a representative of a local health district, someone from the cannabis industry, an academic researcher knowledgeable about cannabis, and a registered medical cannabis patient. The General Assembly will make 10 additional appointments, including a representative from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, experts in substance use disorder treatment and prevention, a person with experience in disability rights advocacy, a person with a social or health equity background, a member of the Medical Society of Virginia, and a representative from the Virginia Pharmacists Association.
For more information on this board, click here.