Virginia Legalizes Marijuana

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Following in the footsteps of New York and New Mexico (pending Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stamp of approval), Virginia is now the latest state to legalize recreational and other non-medical uses of marijuana. As of July 1, adults 21 and over will be allowed to have possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. Dispensaries, on the other hand, must wait until 2024 for recreational sales.

Virginia voted in favour of a legalization date of January 1, 2024. However, Gov. Ralph Northam fast-tracked the legalization to July 1, 2021, which was approved making it the first Southern state to legalize cannabis for recreational use among adults.

What Does This Mean For You?

Well, if you’re lucky enough to be in the ‘Mother of Presidents’ after July 1 then you can possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to four marijuana plants in your home without penalty. However, you cannot sell it, nor can you drive with it in your system (for obvious reasons).

Virginia’s legislation process was relatively quick compared to monumental marijuana legalization battles in New Jersey and New York. However, it is still illegal to possess, consume and sell marijuana at a national level per the 1970 federal drug policy known as the Controlled Substances Act. There is promising news, however, with the US House passing a federal cannabis decriminalisation bill early this year to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances.

Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana

As more states work to legalize marijuana it’s important to understand the benefits of legalizing the drug. These include:

· Economic growth

· Decreased teenager usage

· Investment opportunities

· Wider access to patients

· Product regulation

· Medicinal benefits

· Reduced crime rate

· Free up police resources

Of course, there are cons to every pro, however, to avoid state-to-state confusion wouldn’t it just be simpler to legalize marijuana on a federal level?

But What About the Rest of the Country?

Well, there is still time, so hold in there. According to Marijuana Moment, several states could still propose legalization this year. Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island have all considered the prospects of legalizing marijuana in what one could presume as a snowball effect. Minnesota, for instance, has already approved a bill, while in Delaware, a bill to legalize marijuana for adult use was approved just last month in its first House committee.

Not only is this a momentous moment in US history but it may also prove to be an important catalyst for some changes to be made at a national level. Last week, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Politico he would act on marijuana legalization despite Biden’s reluctance on the matter. However, when asked about the details of the bill and whether it will remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act, Schumer replied “You’ll have to wait and see”.

At this point, any news is good news on the marijuana front and we’ll just have to wait and see what developments unfold over the coming year.

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