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From cannabis to gambling: Virginia’s progressive 2018

Posted at 7:14 AM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-20 09:02:43-05

RICHMOND, Va. — You could argue that it has been a progressive year for Hampton Roads, Virginia and the United States, with new legislation passing in 2018 on both the medical cannabis and gambling fronts.

In Virginia, new medical cannabis laws are allowing those with certain medical conditions like epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy and chronic pain to use oils and other cannabis-based products to benefit them. Also, the Commonwealth established the opening of its first five medical cannabis dispensaries for non-psychoactive CBD and THC-A oils, one of which will open up in Portsmouth in 2019. 

In February 2018, the Virginia Senate and House both passed House Bill 1251, allowing Gov. Northam to sign the bill into legislation in March. With this bill, the supply of  CBD oil or THC-A oil can be dispensed by a pharmaceutical processor from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In gambling, many states (excluding Virginia) have passed legislation to allow sports gambling after the United States Supreme Court ruled the Bradley Act unconstitutional.

The Virginia Lottery was created in 1987 with the intent of helping to raise money for schools and education in the Commonwealth, and some think the Commonwealth could join neighbor states, such as West Virginia, in opening its borders to sports gambling. And if Virginia were to legalize sports gambling, the state could possibly take in $100 million in taxes in the first year alone.

Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement that his office was reviewing the Supreme Court’s ruling and would review any legislation that might come from the General Assembly in the future.

Locally, the City of Norfolk and the Pamunkey Indians announced Wednesday their intentions to build a world class resort casino and spa in the Harbor Park area of the city’s downtown waterfront.

The City of Norfolk and the Pamunkey Indians are still in ongoing negotiations. But neither is putting a timeline on negotiations, reportedly confident they will be able to reach a deal in the near future

While it isn’t clear how these laws and business moves in 2018 will impact Virginia in the short-term, progressive moves and legislation in the Commonwealth will certainly be something to look at in 2019.