RICHMOND, VA — The Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly voted Wednesday to settle for Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed adjustments to a marijuana legalization invoice that may permit restricted possession and cultivation of the plant beginning in July of this 12 months.

It shall be authorized to possess one ounce, and develop 4 vegetation, on July 1. But retail shops is not going to open till 2024. Time to develop your individual?

Previously, the Legislature had voted to legalize cannabis—however not till 2024.

Northam sent the bill back to lawmakers considerably modified from the version they sent him February. The amendments lawmakers agreed to Wednesday would speed up the timeline of legalization by about three years, a transfer that’s been cheered by racial justice advocates.

“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,” House Majority Leader Charniele Herring stated in urging her colleagues to vote for the governor’s adjustments. 

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Opponents predict ‘train wreck’

Northam’s amendments cleared the House 53-44 with two abstentions. The Senate later deadlocked 20-20 and Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax broke the tie, voting to approve them. 

Republicans, who overwhelmingly opposed the invoice when it initially went by the General Assembly, railed in opposition to the most recent model. 

GOP Del. Chris Head referred to as the invoice “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 stated. 

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The governor’s amendments would permit adults 21 and up to legally possess up to one ounce (28.three grams) of cannabis with out the intent to distribute starting July 1. They would additionally permit the house cultivation of up to 4 vegetation per family starting July 1.

It shall be years earlier than authorized retail gross sales observe. The invoice lays out the complicated course of of making a brand new state company to oversee the marijuana market, with gross sales starting and rules going into impact on Jan. 1, 2024.

Want it earlier than 2024? Gotta develop your individual

During the legislative session, the Senate sought to legalize easy possession starting in July, however House Democrats initially argued that legalization with out a authorized marketplace for marijuana might promote the expansion of the black market. The invoice as handed in July wouldn’t have legalized easy possession till 2024. 

Herring stated Wednesday that dwelling progress would give Virginians a means to legally purchase cannabis whereas the retail market is being put in place. 

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