Virginia Approves Cannabis Legalization for July 2021

Virginia lawmakers have approved changes to their legalization law to enact the reforms this July instead of in 2024.

Full story after the jump.

Virginia lawmakers yesterday approved the governor’s amendments to the state’s cannabis reform bill, setting the launch date for legalization on July 1, 2021. Under the version of the bill first approved by lawmakers last month, the legalization rules were only set to begin in 2024.

In late March, following criticisms that a multi-year delay didn’t go far enough in addressing the disproportionate arrests of Black Virginians and other people of color, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) proposed speeding up the launch date to July 1 of this year. Notably, the new date marks only the legalization of adult cannabis possession (up to one ounce), and home growing (up to four plants) — regulated sales are still not expected until July 2024.

Following the announcement, NORML Development Director and Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini called the passage an “incredible victory.”

“Legalization will bring an end to the thousands of low-level marijuana infractions occurring annually in the Commonwealth — ending a discriminatory practice that far too often targets Virginians who are young, poor, and people of color.” — Pedini, in a press release

Virginia’s legalization proposal will include priority licensing for social equity applicants, though the rules for that system and other market regulations are up for review in the General Assembly next year.

Virginia is the first state in the South to legalize adult-use cannabis (although Washington, D.C. approved its legalization law in 2014). Polling data found that 68 percent of registered Virginia voters — including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans — are in favor of legalizing cannabis.

Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe

Have an additional perspective to share? Send us a message to let us know, and if your comment is chosen by our editors it could be featured here.

Sponsor message:

End


Latest Cannabis News

View all news Get email updates

Create a profile View all categories

From Our Partners