In a bold move that many did not see coming from the South, Virginia just officially passed legal, recreational cannabis.
The bill passed thanks to support from the Democratic governor and legislature. Now, small amounts of cannabis are officially legalized in the state. Those 21 and up can have an ounce or less of cannabis starting July 1. Initially, the state was looking at 2024 for an end to prohibition, but Governor Ralph Northam felt it could be hypocritical and problematic to keep criminalizing something that would be legal in the future.
Victory Over Opposition In Virginia
Unlike many states, Virginia did not receive bipartisan support for this measure. In 2019, an attempt to legalize and decriminalize cannabis failed in the state. This year, however, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax had to break a 20-20 tie, as Democrats and Republicans in the Virginia Senate were split down the middle.
Republicans claimed that the bill was too long and involved at 300 pages, and some were concerned that licensing preference would be given to marginalized folks who have been more affected by the war on drugs than others. Others felt this was just a