Youngkin vetoes Virginia bills mandating minimum wage increase, establishing marijuana retail sales

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed 2 apical Democratic legislative priorities connected Thursday: bills that would person allowed the recreational retail income of marijuana to statesman adjacent twelvemonth and measures mandating a minimum wage increase.

The improvement did not travel arsenic a surprise. While Youngkin had not explicitly threatened to veto either acceptable of bills, helium told reporters helium didn’t deliberation the minimum wage measure was needed and had repeatedly said helium was uninterested successful mounting up retail marijuana sales.


In 2021, Virginia became the archetypal Southern authorities to legalize marijuana, adopting a argumentation alteration that allowed adults property 21 and up to person and cultivate the drug. But the authorities didn't acceptable up retail income astatine the clip and inactive hasn't, owed to shifts successful partisan powerfulness and argumentation differences since then.

Virginia Legislature Vetoes

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin delivers his State of the Commonwealth code earlier a associated league of the Virginia General Assembly, Jan. 10, 2024, astatine the authorities Capitol successful Richmond, Va. Youngkin connected Wednesday, March 20, vetoed astir 2 twelve pieces of transgression and instrumentality enforcement legislation, including a measure that would grow the credits inmates tin person to get retired of situation aboriginal and 1 that would let immoderate immigrants who are not U.S. citizens to go constabulary officers.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Advocates accidental the disconnect is allowing the illicit marketplace to flourish, portion opponents person information wellness and information concerns with further expanding entree to the drug. In a statement, Youngkin said helium shared those worries.

"States pursuing this way person seen adverse effects connected children’s and adolescent’s wellness and safety, accrued pack enactment and convulsive crime, important deterioration successful intelligence health, decreased roadworthy safety, and important costs associated with retail marijuana that acold transcend taxation revenue. It besides does not destruct the amerciable black-market merchantability of cannabis, nor warrant merchandise safety," helium said successful a veto connection attached to the bills.

Currently successful Virginia, location cultivation and big sharing of the cause are legal. And patients who person a written certification from a wellness attraction supplier tin acquisition aesculapian cannabis from a dispensary.

Under the bills, the authorities would person started taking applications connected Sept. 1 for cultivating, testing, processing and selling the cause successful mentation for the marketplace to unfastened May 1, 2025, with products taxed astatine a complaint of up to 11.625%.

The authorities was supported by a scope of manufacture interests and opposed by spiritual and socially blimpish groups.

Virginia archetypal took connected legalization astatine a clip erstwhile Democrats were successful afloat power of authorities government. Elections aboriginal that twelvemonth changed that, with Youngkin winning and Republicans taking power of the House of Delegates for 2 years, though Democrats are present backmost successful afloat power of the statehouse.

While determination has been immoderate Republican legislative enactment since the 2021 league for mounting up ineligible recreational sales, bills to bash truthful person failed successful 2022 and 2023.

As for the wage legislation, which would person accrued the existent $12-per-hour minimum wage to $13.50 connected Jan. 1, 2025, and past to $15 connected Jan. 1, 2026, Youngkin said the bills would "imperil marketplace state and economical competitiveness."

The bills would "implement drastic wage mandates, rise costs connected families and tiny businesses, jeopardize jobs, and neglect to admit determination economical differences crossed Virginia," helium said successful a quality release.

Virginia Democrats began an effort to summation the minimum wage successful 2020. They passed authorities that twelvemonth — which took effect with a hold owed to the coronavirus pandemic — establishing incremental increases up to $12, with further bumps requiring different Assembly vote.

They and different advocates person argued the authorities would assistance moving families spend basal necessities and support up with inflation.

Youngkin took enactment connected a full of 107 bills Thursday, according to his office. He signed 100, including measures that his bureau said would "strengthen instrumentality enforcement’s quality to prosecute kid predators and grow Department of Corrections inmate entree to prime wellness services."

Besides the marijuana and wage bills, helium vetoed 3 others. One would person removed an exemption for farmworkers from the state's minimum wage law.

Another would person required that astir 315 individuals incarcerated oregon connected assemblage supervision with a felony marijuana condemnation person a sentencing review, according to Youngkin's office.

"Ninety-seven inmates convicted of a convulsive felony offense, specified arsenic archetypal and second-degree murder, kidnapping, and robbery, would beryllium eligible for a reduced condemnation nether this proposal," helium said successful his veto statement.

Thursday's last veto came for a measure that dealt with the benignant of grounds that tin beryllium considered successful definite workers' compensation claims. The politician said existent instrumentality provides a "balanced approach" portion the connection would "create a disproportionate imbalance successful favour of 1 party."

The part-time General Assembly adjourned its regular league earlier this period and volition conscionable again successful Richmond for a one-day league April 17 to see Youngkin’s projected amendments to legislation. They could besides effort to override 1 oregon much vetoes, a determination that requires a 2/3 ballot of some chambers, which are lone narrowly controlled by Democrats.


The marijuana authorities precocious mostly on enactment lines, and the minimum wage bills passed strictly connected enactment lines, meaning immoderate override effort would beryllium astir definite to fail.

Youngkin announced the vetoes a time aft the nationalist illness of 1 of his apical legislative priorities: a woody to bring the NHL's Washington Capitals and NBA's Washington Wizards to Alexandria. The teams' bulk proprietor announced they would alternatively beryllium staying successful D.C.

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