After New York State legalizing marijuana, we see more and more change across the country. Virginia is the next in the line. However, full legislation of marijuana has not happened just yet, there is a definite forward step.
What do you need know about the Virginia cannabis law?
Under the law as it stands, the state will start taking applications for retail licenses on July 1, 2023, and retail sales can begin on Jan. 1, 2024; however, this provision has to be reenacted by the legislature next year before it goes into effect. The law makes it a priority to involve businesses run by people who have been “disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition.”
source: Washington Post
Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill just one day after 420, which allows anyone in Virginia over the age of 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
The bill will come into effect on July 1st. With this action, Virginia is leading the way between Southern Bible Belt states.
This means that people will no longer go to jail, or have a criminal record that follows them through life for the simple possession of marijuana. However, a report released by American Civil Liberties Union says that Black and White Americans have similar usage rates, still, three and a half times more likely than people of color or low-income communities get arrested for cannabis possession.
The bill also states, that up to four cannabis plants can be grown per household by adults.
However, the plants are only for personal use (strictly at home) and must keep away, from children and public view. They need to be tagged with the owner’s name and driver's license or identification number as well.
The bill in addition establishes a regulatory and licensing structure for the retail sales of adult-use marijuana and creates oversight organizations.
The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority will oversee, the commercial market for marijuana sales, however, there is a long way until everything is up and running. Most likely people won’ be able to legally purchase marijuana until Jan. 1, 2024.
Although this bill is a good start it doesn’t legalize the possession and use of marijuana publicly. Cannabis is still a Schedule I substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
2021 can be a promising year in cannabis history.
Unrestricted THC content cannabis is on the way to legalization in over half of US states. New York was the first one this year, Virginia is taking steps, flowed by New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Rhode Island.
These states usually starting with decriminalizing adult use marijuana and clearing criminal rerecords. It can take couple of years setting up and regulating a legal cannabis market, but better later than never!