Youngkin Vetoes Recreational Marijuana, Minimum Wage Increase


Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed seven items of laws on Wednesday, together with payments that may have established a leisure marijuana market and mandated an elevated minimal wage.  

Recreational Marijuana 

Virginia legalized marijuana in 2021, making it authorized for adults over age 21 to own and develop the drug in small portions. HB 698 and SB 448 would have arrange a framework for a leisure market and allowed gross sales to start in May 2025.  

Youngkin vetoed the payments, saying in a veto assertion that he believed the leisure market would endanger Virginians’ well being and security.  

“States following this path have seen adversarial results on kids’s and adolescent’s well being and security, elevated gang exercise and violent crime, vital deterioration in psychological well being, decreased street security, and vital prices related to retail marijuana that far exceed tax income,” the assertion learn. 

He added that the laws “doesn’t eradicate the unlawful black-market sale of hashish, nor assure product security.” 

Democratic members of the General Assembly expressed disappointment within the choice to veto. Sen. Aaron Rouse (D-Virginia Beach) and Del. Paul Krizek (D-Fairfax), who sponsored the Senate and House payments, respectively, launched an announcement calling the veto “harmful and irresponsible.”  

“Governor Youngkin’s failure to behave permits an already thriving unlawful hashish market to persist, fueling felony exercise and endangering our communities,” Krizek mentioned. “This veto squandered an important alternative to safeguard Virginians and can solely exacerbate the proliferation of illicit merchandise, posing higher dangers to our faculties and public security.” 

Minimum Wage 

Another outstanding veto was on HB 1 and SB 1, which might have raised the statewide minimal wage from the present $12 per hour to $13.50 per hour in 2025, then $15 per hour in 2026.  

Youngkin rejected the payments, saying in his veto assertion that, “This wage mandate imperils market freedom and financial competitiveness,” and that it might increase enterprise operational prices. 

“Implementing a $15-per-hour wage mandate might not influence Northern Virginia, the place financial circumstances create the next value of dwelling, however this method is detrimental for small companies throughout the remainder of Virginia, particularly in Southwest and Southside,” Youngkin mentioned. “A one-size-fits-all mandate ignores the huge financial and geographic variations and undermines the power to adapt to regional cost-of-living variations and market dynamics.”  

He vetoed three different payments. One, HB 157, would have eliminated a farmworker exemption from the Virginia minimal wage. SB 696 would have offered people incarcerated for felony marijuana convictions with necessary hearings to think about modified sentences. Lastly, HB 974 would have allowed “sure proof for particular accidents arising from employment associated to employees’ compensation.” 

He signed 100 payments into legislation on the identical day, together with “payments that strengthen legislation enforcement’s capability to prosecute youngster predators and broaden Department of Corrections inmate entry to high quality well being companies,” based on a information launch.  

Feature picture, inventory.adobe.com

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