Virginia’s Democratic-controlled Legislature handed a invoice legalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana on Wednesday, making it the 16th state to take the step.

Under Virginia’s new regulation, adults ages 21 and over can possess an oz or much less of marijuana starting on July 1, quite than Jan. 1, 2024. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, proposed shifting up the date, arguing it could be a mistake to proceed to penalize folks for possessing a drug that might quickly be authorized.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, additionally a Democrat, broke a 20-20 vote tie in Virginia’s Senate to cross the invoice. No Republicans supported the measure.

Democratic House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn hailed the plan.

“Today, with the Governor’s amendments, we will have made tremendous progress in ending the targeting of Black and brown Virginians through selective enforcement of marijuana prohibition by this summer,” she mentioned in a press release.

Republicans voiced various objections to what they characterised as an unwieldy, nearly 300-page bill. Several criticized measures that might grant licensing preferences to people and groups who’ve been affected by the war on drugs and make it easier for workers in the industry to unionize. Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment additionally questioned Northam’s motives. [Read more at NPR]

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