Connecting With Our Virginia Legislators
On January 16, 2024, amidst the drizzle of a Virginia winter, the Redfern Hemp Team joined forces with the Virginia Hemp Coalition for their annual Lobby Day (fun fact, this was Graham’s 12th Lobby Day). Our shared mission: advocating for the industrial hemp industry and ensuring our future position in the recreational cannabis market, hopefully beginning in 2025.
The day began with a brisk walk to the imposing Richmond landmark, the Virginia State Capitol Building. Inside, after navigating security and strategizing our agenda, we embarked on a series of crucial meetings with legislators. Our focus? Connecting with those representing the districts where our employees reside to build upon our relationships as constituents.
Lobby for a Responsible, Inclusive Cannabis Policy
Lobbying, for us, transcends mere political obligation; it’s a burning passion. We live and breathe the cannabis industry, keenly aware of the ever-evolving legal landscape. Staying ahead of the curve is not just good business; it’s a matter of customer advocacy. We firmly believe in cannabis’s potential to enhance well-being, and we’ll always be vocal champions for our customers’ right to access it.
Throughout the day, we met with numerous delegates and senators, exchanging information, dispelling myths, and emphasizing the growing public support for recreational cannabis. Each conversation and every handshake were a step closer to realizing our vision of a more responsible, inclusive cannabis policy in Virginia.
Advocating for a Customer-centric Virginia Hemp Industry
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting long shadows across the Capitol grounds, we emerged from the building, a sense of accomplishment mingled with the energy of a day filled with purpose. The road ahead may be long, but Lobby Day served as a potent reminder of the collective power of advocacy. We left with renewed conviction, knowing that every voice raised, every story shared, is a testament to the growing chorus demanding positive change.
In short, Lobby Day was a testament to the power of collective action in shaping a brighter future for cannabis policy in Virginia. Through open dialogue and unwavering commitment, we are paving the way for a more responsible, open market, and customer-centric approach to cannabis regulation in the state.
How do I follow Virginia’s hemp bills?
There are several ways to follow Virginia’s hemp bills effectively:
- Legislative Information System (LIS): This is the official website for tracking legislative activity in Virginia. You can search for bills by keyword, bill number, sponsor, or topic. For hemp-related bills, you can use keywords like “hemp,” “industrial hemp,” or “cannabidiol.” The LIS website displays the bill’s text, status, votes, and committee assignments. You can also sign up for email alerts on specific bills or committees.
- Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS): The VDACS is responsible for regulating the hemp industry in Virginia. Their website has a dedicated page for the Industrial Hemp program, where you can find information on regulations, licensing, and resources for hemp growers and processors. They also provide updates on legislative changes affecting the hemp industry.
- Virginia General Assembly website: The General Assembly website provides an overview of the legislative process, including information on committees, floor sessions, and upcoming deadlines. You can also find contact information for your state legislators.
News and Information Resources:
- Local newspapers and news websites: Many local newspapers and news websites provide coverage of Virginia’s legislative session, including updates on hemp-related bills. You can sign up for email alerts or follow them on social media to stay informed.
- Industry groups and associations: Several industry groups and associations represent the hemp industry in Virginia. These organizations often track legislation and provide updates to their members. Some relevant groups include the Virginia Hemp Coalition and the National Industrial Hemp Council.
- Social media: Following relevant hashtags on social media, such as #VaHemp or #VaLegis, can help you stay up-to-date on news and discussions about Virginia’s hemp bills.
- Identify key bills: Research the current key hemp bills being considered by the legislature. Focus on bills that address issues you’re most interested in.
- Contact your legislators: Don’t hesitate to contact your state legislators to voice your opinion on hemp-related bills. You can find their contact information on the Virginia General Assembly website.
- Attend public hearings: Public hearings are a great way to learn more about specific bills and to express your support or opposition. You can find information on upcoming hearings on the LIS website.
By utilizing these resources and staying proactive, you can effectively follow Virginia’s hemp bills and stay informed about any legislative changes that may impact the industry.
Who are Virginia’s Cannabis Advocacy Organizations?
There are several prominent cannabis advocacy organizations in Virginia, each focusing on different aspects of cannabis reform and legalization:
- Virginia Cannabis Association (VCA): Lobbying and trade association advocating for a safe, regulated, and inclusive recreational marijuana market in Virginia. They focus on economic opportunities and fair competition for Virginia-based businesses.
- NORML Virginia: A chapter of the national organization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). They advocate for marijuana law reform at both the state and federal levels, focusing on decriminalization, medical cannabis access, and social justice.
- Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (VCCA): While not technically an advocacy organization, the VCCA is the state agency responsible for regulating the medical cannabis industry and overseeing the legal framework for recreational marijuana once it’s implemented. They play a crucial role in shaping the future of cannabis policy in Virginia.
Regional and Grassroots organizations:
- Decriminalize Richmond: A grassroots organization advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana possession in Richmond, Virginia. They focus on racial justice and eliminating the negative impacts of marijuana criminalization on marginalized communities.
- Cannabis Action Network (CAN): A network of local chapters across Virginia promoting responsible cannabis policies and advocating for legalization. They provide educational resources and organize community events.
- Central Virginia NORML: A regional chapter of NORML based in Charlottesville, Virginia. They focus on advocacy and education about medical cannabis and marijuana law reform in central Virginia.
- 420 Virginia: A online community and resource hub for cannabis news, events, and discussions in Virginia.
- Virginia Marijuana Project: A website providing information and updates on marijuana laws and legalization efforts in Virginia.
It’s important to note that these organizations may have differing stances on specific issues related to cannabis policy. Researching their individual platforms and goals can help you determine which organizations align with your views and interests.
By becoming involved with and supporting these advocacy organizations, you can contribute to shaping Virginia’s future cannabis policy and advocate for responsible legalization with positive impacts on the state.