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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Zach Gibson

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed a bill that legalizes the possession and growth of small amounts of recreational marijuana starting this summer.

Why it matters: Virginia is the first Southern state to legalize recreational marijuana, and the 16th state in the country to do so.

Details: Under the law, effective July 1, adults 21 and older can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

What he's saying: “This is the latest step we are taking to building a more equitable and just Virginia,” Northam said before the signing the bill. “Reforming our criminal justice system to make it more fair.”

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Apr 20, 2021 - Axios Denver

What national marijuana legalization would mean for Colorado

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Colorado's cannabis industry is enjoying an era of prosperity as national attitudes toward marijuana become more relaxed.

Driving the news: 17 states have legalized recreational marijuana sales and pot enjoys its highest popularity ever with 68% of adults backing legalization, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Apr 20, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado pushes for social equity in the cannabis industry

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

White business owners overwhelmingly dominate Colorado’s cannabis industry, but the market’s lack of diversity could soon change.

What’s happening: New efforts at the state and local level are moving forward to foster industry opportunities for communities of color that have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.

Driving the news: Tuesday — on 420 —Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is signing the most sweeping set of changes to the city’s marijuana regulation since recreational pot sales were legalized in 2014.

John Frank, author of Denver
Apr 20, 2021 - Axios Denver

Potency limits are the next frontier in marijuana debate

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Marijuana is no longer just a crumbled green plant rolled into a joint. It's concentrates, wax, gummies, sodas, shatter and more.

Why it matters: The newer products can boast higher levels of THC — the psychoactive component in cannabis — and lawmakers in a handful of states are exploring whether to put caps on potency.