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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

Nov 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Terry McAuliffe plans to run for governor of Virginia again

Terry McAuliffe at a Virginia State University homecoming parade. Photo: Parker Michels-Boyce for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Terry McAuliffe is telling friends he'll announce plans to again run for governor of Virginia in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: This could spark a divisive primary with younger, more diverse candidates and serve as a bellwether for 2024 races — including the next presidential election.

Updated Nov 20, 2020 - Health

The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

New Hampshire on Friday became the latest state to implement a mask mandate to fight COVID-19, amid a steep spike in cases across the country.

The big picture: States are reintroducing mitigation efforts like closing businesses and advising people to stay home as the U.S. averages the most daily cases of any point in the pandemic.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.