Democratic Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation into law today legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and establishing an enactment date for commercial marijuana production and retail sales.
Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini spoke alongside the Governor at the ceremonial bill signing. “Today, together, we celebrate an extraordinary victory for cannabis justice in the Commonwealth.” Pedini, who also serves as NORML’s Development Director, said. “Still, we have so much more work ahead, and NORML remains committed to continuing our efforts on behalf of Virginians, with the legislature, with the administration, and with the new Cannabis Control Authority to make sure we do get this right.”
Senate Bill 1406, introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-30) and Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Louise Lucas (D-18), and House Bill 2312, patroned by House Majority Leader Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46), establishes a statutory timeline for the legalization of the commercial marijuana market in Virginia. The measure also permits for the personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and personal cultivation of up to four cannabis plants per household. The provisions permitting personal marijuana possession take effect on July 1, 2021.
The timeline by which state regulators must enact provisions licensing commercial cannabis production and sales is July 1, 2024.
Watch Governor Northam's bill signing ceremony here.
NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of marijuana by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use marijuana responsibly no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for marijuana-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.