Nov 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Gov. Northam: "It's time to legalize marijuana in Virginia"

Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said on Monday he plans introduce and support legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state.

The big picture: If Northam is successful, Virginia would join 15 other states and D.C. that have broadly legalized cannabis use.

What he's saying: “It’s time to legalize marijuana in Virginia,” Northam said in a news release.

  • “Our Commonwealth has an opportunity to be the first state in the South to take this step, and we will lead with a focus on equity, public health, and public safety. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to get this right," he added.
  • The Northam administration said it is working closely with lawmakers to finalize legislation in advance of the 2021 General Assembly session.
  • The administration cited local government studies that address inequities in how current law is enforced and how the new legislation could attract revenue for the state.
  • “This has become an equity issue and, and our administration has always been focused on equity, but certainly in the last couple of years that has become a greater focus,” Northam told reporters on Monday.

Where it stands: Under legislation that went into effect this summer, possession of small amounts of marijuana in Virginia no longer carries jail time or a criminal conviction.

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