Gov. Northam: "It's time to legalize marijuana in Virginia"
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.
- New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota voted this month to legalize cannabis for adult recreational 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.