A new bill will allow adults in Virginia to possess and cultivate small amounts of cannabis starting in July.
On Wednesday, Virginia became the first Southern state of the US to legalize marijuana as lawmakers voted to approve the law. Ralph Northam proposed changes to a bill that will allow adults to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana starting in July.
The amendments lawmakers agreed to Wednesday would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years, well before retail sales would begin, a move that’s been cheered by racial justice advocates.
“The time has come for our state to sanction marijuana. The amendments ensure that while we’re doing the complicated work of standing up a commercial market, we aren’t delaying directly reforms that will make our Commonwealth more reasonable for all Virginians,” House Majority Leader Charniele Herring said.
Many parts of the bill dealing with the supervisory framework will have to be re-approved by lawmakers next year. The possession and cultivation pieces will not initiate at present. Republicans, who overwhelmingly opposed the bill when it initially went through the General Assembly, railed against the latest version, citing several reasons.
Some Republicans took this matter with labor provisions in the new version of the bill, in particular a change that says the government can revoke or suspend licenses issued under the new law in cases where an employer has refused to “remain neutral regarding any union organizing efforts by employees.”