Governors of bordering states Maryland and Virginia could not be more different in terms of how they roll out their state programs.
While cannabis industry leaders nervously watch Washington D.C. lawmakers quibble over language in the latest iteration of the SAFE Banking Act, Governors of bordering states Maryland and Virginia could not be more different in terms of how they roll out their state programs.
Less than two months after Maryland governor Wes Moore signed a bill legalizing adult-use sales, the state program launched relatively seamlessly on July 1. Operators racked up more than $10 million in sales in the first two days of the program. Democrat Moore, who prior to running for office sat on the board of directors of Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, championed on Twitter that the state “was writing a new chapter in the story on cannabis in America.”
Meanwhile, last month in Virginia, a surrogate for Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin indicated that the adult-use sales program that was supposed to be in effect by January 1 2024 will be delayed at least until 2026 after he is out of office.
“Governor Youngkin has stated that he is not interested in any further moves towards legalization of adult recreational use marijuana,” said Joseph Guthrie, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, during a Virginia Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council meeting last week. “So I wouldn’t expect that during his administration.”
Both popular first-term governors are said to have presidential ambitions in 2028 and beyond.
Moore is deeply invested in the economic development potential of cannabis to elevate communities most disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. He has the benefit of learning from missteps of similarly designed social equity programs in Illinois, New York and other states while also having a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented to industry operators. While only time will tell if he delivers, early returns look good.
Youngkin is making a name for himself by delaying the enactment of a law his predecessor signed in 2021. This not only puts constraints on industry expansion for established and social equity operators in Virginia, but also sends a mixed message to Virginia citizens who are able to grow, possess and consume cannabis – but not buy it recreationally.
After stating in December 2021 that he had no intention of overturning Virginia’s adult-use law, Youngkin in February of this year punted the issue to lawmakers who had already passed it in the first place.
What separates these two is not only their positions on cannabis, but how they communicate where they stand and what they stand for. This is something to watch as they expand their national profiles.
Grow no little plans together
Grown In had the opportunity this week to share deeper details about The Burn ‘Em Plan and its upcoming launch event at Discovery Partners Institute on August 10 on LinkedIn Live with ProCanna’s Dede Perkins.
Tune in to more fully understand what the Burn ‘Em Plan is, what to expect from the August 10th launch event, and plans to leverage Burn ‘Em to lead the industry — in Chicago and throughout the country — to fulfill it’s potential as a large scale consumer market.
Shout out to Dede Perkins and our friends at ProCanna, a cannabis compliance software provider you should know about. Click below to watch the full conversation.