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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.

Go deeper: Voters approve marijuana legalization in 4 states

Go deeper

Armed election protesters rally outside Michigan secretary of state's home

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson during a November press conferencein Detroit. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday night called for threats against elected officials to "stop" after Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said armed protesters gathered outside her home and shouted "baseless conspiracy theories about the election."

Why it matters: Saturday's protest follows Trump's persistent unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Election officials in states including Georgia and Pennsylvania have reported receiving death threats over the election.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.