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Virginia Becomes The First Southern State To Legalize Marijuana

Virginia has become the first southern state to legalize marijuana.

Virginia was the first southern state to end the death penalty, and now it’s the first to make smoking that Mary Jane legal. The new freedom went official on Wednesday following the amendment of a bill by Gov. Ralph Northam. The New York Post reports the bill would allow adults to have and cultivate small amounts of the plant beginning in July, with the sale of weed to follow eventually.

Once Northam was done with his changes, he sent it back to legislators. The changes lawmakers and Northam agreed on would accelerate the legalization process by about three years, the outlet reports. Racial justice advocates are reportedly excited about the bill becoming law.

“The time has come for our state to legalize marijuana. The amendments ensure that while we’re doing the complicated work of standing up a commercial market, we aren’t delaying immediate reforms that will make our Commonwealth more equitable for all Virginians,” said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring who is pushing for others to approve Northam’s changes.

Democrats say the bill was needed to end the mistreatment and injustice people of color face in regard to marijuana laws. But, you always have those who aren’t in favor of a seemingly positive thing. Take GOP Del. Chris Head, for example. He called the bill a “train wreck.”

“The hard-fought compromise that barely made it out of this chamber and over to the Senate has just been discarded. And why is that? It’s because some activists want marijuana legalized and they want it legalized now, consequences be damned,” he said. Some republicans were upset by one of the bill’s labor provisions which states the government can revoke or suspend licenses under the new law in cases where the employer refuses to “remain neutral regarding any union organizing efforts by employees.”

Starting July 1, the bill’s final version would allow adults 21 and up to legally process one ounce (28.3 grams) of cannabis without the intent to distribute. The New York Post reports. It would also allow the cultivation of up to four plants per household. The legal retail of weed will come after legalized possession. A marketplace for weed won’t happen until Jan. 1, 2024.

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