With the legislature's approval of Gov. Northam’s amendments, Virginia becomes the 17th state to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Today, the Virginia Legislature gave final approval to Gov. Ralph Northam's amendments to the adult-use legalization bill, making Virginia the17th state—and the first in the South—to legalize cannabis! It is also the fourth state to pass legalization through its state legislature, as opposed to via voter referendum.
Per Gov. Northam's amendments, personal possession and cultivation of cannabis will now become legal for adults on July 1, 2021, and the state will begin laying the groundwork for the regulated market beginning this summer. You can read our summary of the legislation here.
As a 15-year Virginia resident, a 10-year MPP veteran, and a mother of three, I’m proud of the steps our state is taking to end the failed policy of prohibition and replace it with an equitable law allowing responsible adults to use cannabis. Legalization will bring about economic benefits for our state by creating new jobs and generating tax revenues; it will mean better public health and safety outcomes for our communities by limiting youth access and protecting adult consumers by giving them access to regulated products; and, perhaps most importantly, it will have a valuable impact on racial justice by ending the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws, allowing for automatic shielding of convictions, and addressing the disproportionate harm caused to Black and brown communities by decades of prohibition.
Several other states legislatures are seriously considering legalization this year. Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island’s legislatures all have ongoing, viable legalization efforts. Meanwhile, we anticipate New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign a legislatively approved legalization bill into law any moment now.
If you like what you see here, please consider making a donation to MPP today so we can continue fighting for new legalization laws and working to tweak existing ones.