Hopes that Gov. Glenn Youngkin might sign a bill legalizing retail sales of marijuana in Virginia faded fast this week as Democrats blocked one of the governor’s top priorities: the plan to bring a professional sports arena to Northern Virginia.

As recently as Wednesday, according to multiple Capitol sources, the cannabis bill was being raised in closed-door budget talks with the governor as one of several Democratic priorities that could conceivably have been part of a package deal with the arena.


Without taking a recorded vote, a Virginia House of Delegates committee on Wednesday [Feb. 27] again blocked legislation that would bring the state in line with the rest of the country by banning the personal use of campaign funds.

By a voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee chose to continue the bill until the 2025 General Assembly session.


In an attempt to stem what Democratic lawmakers say is an epidemic of guns being stolen from vehicles, the Virginia Senate passed legislation Thursday that would create a $500 civil penalty for firearm owners who leave handguns on a car seat or other areas visible to passersby.

The legislation, one of the first gun control measures put to a full vote in either chamber this year, still needs to pass the House of Delegates and is likely at risk of being vetoed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin after the session ends. Still, the issue highlights the two parties’ diverging views on how to address gun crime, with Democrats trying to reduce the number of guns flowing onto the streets and Republicans calling for tougher enforcement of existing laws.


The two-year period before the arrival of Gov. Glenn Youngkin was the first time in decades that Democrats controlled both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. Come January, they’ll be back in charge.

That sets up a policymaking dynamic that hasn’t been seen in Virginia since the 1990s: A Republican governor working with a fully Democratic legislature.


Virginia’s so-called “sore loser” law is supposed to ensure that when a candidate is defeated in a Republican or Democratic primary, they can’t drop their party affiliation and appear on the general election ballot next to the person who beat them.

As the state’s closely watched election season, which will determine control of all 140 seats in the General Assembly, ramps up, both the letter and spirit of that law are being tested. A handful of unsuccessful primary candidates have tried to keep their campaigns alive after defeat while attacking their own parties for allegedly corrupting the process.