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Virginia lawmakers reach compromise on adult-use legalization

Feb 27, 2021

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Next, the bill will proceed to Gov. Northam’s desk — thanks to all who contacted legislators!

After several days of wrangling over details, legislators from the Virginia House and Senate have agreed to terms on a final version of the adult-use legalization bill. Today, both chambers voted to approve the compromise. 

The legislation will now advance to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam, who supports legalization. The governor could either sign the bill or request amendments, which would then be considered by the legislature. 

You can read a summary of the final bill here

Possession and cultivation of cannabis will not become legal for adults until January 2024, but the state will begin laying the groundwork for the regulated market beginning this July. Legislators did fix some of the issues we raised in a previous email, such as making it clear that adults will be able to share cannabis with other adults and not increasing penalties for underage possession, but they did not do everything we asked. 

We are disappointed that the bill still criminalizes bringing any amount of cannabis into Virginia from outside the Commonwealth’s borders. However, that provision and many others do not take effect until 2024. It is also one of many provisions that requires another vote from the legislature in 2022. We’re relieved that we will have other opportunities to improve this policy before it goes into effect.

This is a huge step forward for cannabis policy in Virginia. Thanks to all who contacted legislators!