Lower than two weeks after five states voted to legalize cannabis on this month’s election, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam introduced on Monday that he would introduce laws to legalize adult-use marijuana within the state. The transfer comes as his administration prepares to launch a report on the influence that hashish legalization is more likely to have on the state.
“It’s time to legalize marijuana in Virginia,” Northam said in a press launch. “Our Commonwealth has a chance to be the primary state within the South to take this step, and we’ll lead with a give attention to fairness, public well being, and public security. I stay up for working with the Common Meeting to get this proper.”
The governor’s workplace mentioned within the assertion that Northam would work carefully with lawmakers to introduce a legalization invoice in subsequent yr’s legislative session, though he warned that “it’s not going to occur in a single day” and predicted the method would take roughly 18 to 24 months.
Earlier this yr, Northam signed legislation that successfully decriminalized marijuana in Virginia. However he mentioned on Monday that extra reform is important to handle the harms attributable to the nation’s failed however persevering with Warfare on Medication.
“Marijuana legal guidelines have been primarily based initially in discrimination and undoing these harms means issues like social fairness licenses, entry to capital, group reinvestment, and sealing or expunging folks’s prior data,” he mentioned.
Northam made clear in his announcement that his assist for a hashish legalization invoice hinges on the inclusion of 5 rules: social, racial, and financial fairness; public well being; protections for younger folks; upholding the Virginia Indoor Clear Air Act; and the continuing assortment of knowledge on well being, security, and fairness.
Virginia AG On Board With Legalization
Virginia’s high legislation enforcement officer, Lawyer Common Mark Herring, introduced his assist for Northam’s push for hashish legalization on social media.
“Virginia wants to permit authorized, regulated grownup use of marijuana as a matter of public security, justice, fairness, and financial alternative,” Herring tweeted.
Virginia state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, a Democrat who sponsored this yr’s decriminalization invoice, mentioned that he has already been engaged on a legalization invoice for the subsequent session and that he’s thrilled by Northam’s assist for the problem.
“It is a main and vital optimistic growth,” Ebbin said. “We’re going through a shorter legislative session this yr, and the administration’s assist will make a distinction on a invoice that’s going to be difficult and have a variety of transferring elements.”
Jenn Michelle Pedini, the event director for the Nationwide Group for the Reform of Marijuana Legal guidelines (NORML) and the chief director of the group’s Virginia chapter, served on Northam’s marijuana working group. In a press launch, Pedini mentioned that they weren’t stunned by the governor’s assist for adult-use hashish.
“Governor Northam has at all times been considerate in his method to hashish coverage. NORML appreciates that social fairness, racial fairness, and financial fairness are amongst his major concerns,” said Pedini. “We stay up for persevering with our work with the administration and the legislature to ‘get this proper.”