Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group

As Required by Chapters 1285 & 1286 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly (HB972/SB2)

On May 21, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 972 and Senate Bill 2, which decriminalized simple possession of marijuana in the Commonwealth, and this new law became effective on July 1, 2020. As part of that legislation, the General Assembly asked four members of the Governor’s Cabinet to lead a work group consisting of government officials, policy experts, healthcare professionals, and community leaders to study legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana and submit a report by November 30, 2020.

Work Group Charge

The charge of this workgroup as specified in the legislation is as follows:

That the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Finance, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security shall convene a work group to study the impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana. The work group shall consult with the Attorney General of Virginia, the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation, the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy, the Director for the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis at the Virginia Commonwealth University L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, the Virginia State Crime Commission, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, the Executive Director of Virginia NORML, a representative of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, a representative of a current manufacturer of medical cannabis in Virginia, a medical professional, a member of a historically disadvantaged community, a representative of a substance abuse organization, and a representative of a community services board. In conducting its study, the work group shall review the legal and regulatory frameworks that have been established in states that have legalized the sale and personal use of marijuana and shall examine the feasibility of legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana, the potential revenue impact of legalization on the Commonwealth, the legal and regulatory framework necessary to successfully implement legalization in the Commonwealth, and the health effects of marijuana use. The work group shall complete its work and report its recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor by November 30, 2020.


Members of this workgroup and their affiliation are listed below (note some members have selected designees to serve on their behalf in meetings):

  • Bettina Ring, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Aubrey Layne, Secretary of Finance
  • Daniel Carey, Secretary of Health and Human Resources
  • Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
  • Mark Herring, Attorney General
  • Craig Burns, Tax Commissioner
  • Richard Holcomb, DMV Commissioner
  • Jewel Bronaugh, VDACS Commissioner
  • Caroline Juran, Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy
  • Mike MacKenzie, VCU Wilder School Director for the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis
  • Kristen Howard, State Crime Commission
  • Nate Green, Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys
  • Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director of Virginia NORML
  • Travis Hill, Virginia ABC
  • Ngiste Abebe, Director of Public Policy, Columbia Care
  • Sam Caughron, Charlottesville Wellness Center Family Practice
  • Michael Carter, Jr., VSU Small Farm Outreach Program & 11th generation farmer
  • Nour Alamiri, Chair of Community Coalitions of Virginia
  • James Thompson, Virginia Center of Addiction Medicine
  • Jimmy Christmas, River City Integrative Counseling
  • Jennifer Faison, Executive Director Virginia Association of Community Services Boards
  • Captain Richard Boyd, Virginia State Police
  • Linda Jackson, Department of Forensic Science