Altria Tobacco Backs Legal Cannabis And Lobby’s Virginia Legislators

Altria Group is the world’s largest tobacco producer and they are getting deeply involved in cannabis and lobbying on its behalf for the first time. Altria is joining efforts to legalize the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis in Virginia. If you’ve been on the fence regarding getting involved in cannabis what more could you need to know?

In 2020 Altria purchased a stake in Canadian based Cronos and began the process of working towards patenting products related to cannabis and marijuana. This is the first time the Altria has become involved in lobbying in favor of cannabis or marijuana legalization at any level. “Altria supports the federal legalization of cannabis under an appropriate regulatory framework,” George Parman, a spokesperson for Altria, told The Center Square. “As a stakeholder in this industry we intend to work with policy makers and regulators to support a transparent, responsible, and equitable operating environment for the sale of cannabis.”

The Altria group hired Elizabeth Rafferty from Williams Mullen, a Richmond-based law firm, to convey their lobbying agenda to the statewide lawmakers. Until now Altria has only been involved in tobacco-related lobbying in the commonwealth and at the national level. Legislation to legalize marijuana is making its way through the Virginia General Assembly and looks promising. The Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate both passed versions of legalization legislation. The House of Delegates and the Senate will have to work differences in their approaches before the bill can be sent to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk who is expected to sign it.

Both bills create a system to regulate and license the cultivation, transportation and retail sides of the market with sales expected to begin in 2024. There is also the potential for an urgency clause which could speed things up to 2023. Each bill would make purchase legal for adults 21 years or older with a caveat the state will enforce ID checks, similar to the sale of alcohol. Current bill differences include local government authority. Under the House version, local governments would be forced to allow retail sales of marijuana subject to local zoning laws. The Senate version would allow local governments to opt out of allowing retail sales within their jurisdiction.

Wayne Gretsky thought it was more important to skate to where the puck was going not to where the puck was. Altria along with many others are showing everyone where the cannabis market is going and giving you a reason to climb aboard. Will you climb aboard or let others get there first? If you want to get on board we can help!

As a General Contractor, Real Estate Broker, and Managing Member of Mountain Valley Construction, Daniel “Danny” Stevenson is ahead of the curve in a growing industry. Cannabis is now legal for recreational use in California and is gradually losing its stigma. Mountain Valley Construction serves those in this new industry by building the state-of-the-art cultivation and manufacturing facilities. With cannabis cultivation centers needing sophisticated climate control, water conditioning and recycling systems, fertigation (combination fertilizing and irrigation systems), Co2 integration, pest control, security, etc., in addition to the structural, electrical, and mechanical engineers that any commercial contractor needs, Mountain Valley Construction involves multiple specialty and subject-matter experts. Call Danny at 916-933-7333 or e-mail him at danny@mountainvalleyllc.com

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