Virginia lawmakers OK marijuana possession beginning July 1

2021-04-08 07:15:33

The brand new regulation, which fits into impact July 1, permits anybody within the state 21 or older to own as much as 1 ounce of marijuana. The regulation additionally “modifies a number of different felony penalties associated to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of felony historical past file info associated to sure marijuana offenses,” in line with a abstract posted to the Legislature’s web site.
“Virginia led and made historical past as soon as once more at present,” Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who solid the tie-breaking vote within the state Senate, stated in a tweet.

“I used to be proud to solid the tie-breaking vote to legalize marijuana and produce lengthy overdue justice, equity, fairness and alternative to the individuals of our nice Commonwealth.”

The invoice had initially handed in late February, however Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam despatched it again to the Legislature with a sequence of revisions, together with a proposal to speed up the timeline of its enactment to this July as a substitute of 2024.

“I’m happy that the Normal Meeting accepted my proposal to make this alteration on July 1, 2021 almost three years sooner than deliberate,” Northam stated in a assertion Wednesday.

“Marijuana legal guidelines have been explicitly designed to focus on communities of coloration, and Black Virginians are disproportionately more likely to be stopped, charged, and convicted. As we speak, Virginia took a crucial step to proper these wrongs and restore justice to these harmed by a long time of over-criminalization.”

Nonetheless, the measure was met with fierce opposition from state GOP lawmakers Wednesday, together with Del. Chris Head, who known as it a “practice wreck” throughout a digital Home ground speech.

“If this coverage change is to be undertaken, it needs to be undertaken prudently, and I perceive the large strain on the bulk get together to make this alteration proper now. I perceive that opposing instant laws and legalization goes to anger lots of your constituents. And I perceive that taking the time to do that proper may probably even result in fees of racism,” he stated.

“However we’ve got to do that proper. And doing it proper takes time.”

Legalization advocates have lengthy touted the righting of previous felony justice wrongs, eliminating unlawful market exercise and producing further tax income after they’ve pushed for overhauling state hashish legal guidelines.

“On the finish of the day, economics speak and jobs speak,” Jessica Billingsley, chief govt officer of Akerna, which makes regulatory compliance software program that helps states observe hashish gross sales from seed to sale, beforehand instructed CNN.

“I actually consider we will see some very significant and essential motion popping out of this as states and governors search for a solution to bolster their financial system.”

Hashish gross sales in states which have legalized the plant for medical and leisure functions totaled about $15 billion in 2019, and are anticipated to high $30 billion by 2024, in line with information from BDS Analytics, which tracks dispensary gross sales.

CNN’s Alicia Wallace contributed to this report.

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