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Legalization here we come!

Great news everyone! Northam has pushed for the current legislation to legalize cannabis (Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312) to start effective July 1, 2021! His amendments will need to be approved before anything happens, but it's very promising. Legislature will reconvene April 7 to vote on it. Here is a summary of what is being proposed (borrowed from 3WKTR at https://www.wtkr.com/news/gov-northam-pushes-to-accelerate-marijuana-legalization-in-virginia ) :

  • Public health: Gov. Northam first wants immediate funding for a public awareness campaign on the health and safety risks of marijuana. He then wants to provide training to help law enforcement officers recognize and prevent drugged driving. These amendments detail the need for ongoing support for public health education.

  • Worker protections: This amendment could authorize the new Cannabis Control Authority to revoke a company’s business license if they interfere with union organizing efforts, fail to pay prevailing wage as defined by the United States Department of Labor, or classify more than 10 percent of employees as independent contractors.

  • Ending disproportionate enforcement: These amendments would allow adults to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis, without intent to distribute, beginning July 1, 2021. These amendments would maintain current public safety measures that prohibit smoking while driving.

  • Speeding up sealing of records and expungements: The amendments allow for expungement and sealing of criminal records on marijuana to begin as soon as state agencies are able to do so and simplify the criteria for when records can be sealed. The General Assembly passed broader legislation to implement comprehensive expungement reform beginning in 2025. This generational change requires extensive updates to state agency computer systems and processes, which were made possible by funding in the Governor’s introduced budget. In the coming months, Governor Northam will continue to work hand in hand with legislators to make Virginia’s criminal justice system more equitable, including through efforts to resentence individuals previously convicted for marijuana offenses.

  • Home cultivation: The Governor’s changes will allow households to grow up to four plants beginning on July 1, 2021. The amendments would require the plants to be labeled with identification information, out of sight from public view, and out of range of individuals under the age of 21.

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