Virginia Governor Proposes Accelerating Marijuana Legalization

Virginia Governor Proposes Accelerating Marijuana Legalization

Governor Northam Proposes Accelerating Marijuana Legalization in Virginia
Amendments address inequitable enforcement of marijuana laws, legalize simple possession on July 1, 2021

RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Governor Ralph Northam today proposed moving up the legalization of simple possession of marijuana to July 1, 2021, nearly three years sooner than previously planned.  The Governor also announced he is proposing changes that advance public health protections, set clear expectations for labor protections in the cannabis industry, and begin to seal criminal records immediately.  The changes come in the form of amendments to Senate Bill 1406, sponsored by Senators Adam Ebbin and Louise Lucas, and House Bill 2312, sponsored by Majority Leader Charniele Herring, which legalize the adult-use of marijuana in the Commonwealth.

“Our Commonwealth is committed to legalizing marijuana in an equitable way,” said Governor Northam.  “Virginia will become the 15th state to legalize marijuana—and these changes will ensure we do it with a focus on public safety, public health, and social justice.  I am grateful to the advocates and legislators for their dedicated work on this important issue, and I look forward to this legislation passing next month.”

A report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) issued in November 2020 found that Black Virginians were more than three times as likely to be arrested for simple possession of marijuana. 

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