Virginia’s increasing vocal panel of advocates and legislators is pushing Governor Ralph Northam to approve a legislative change that would authorize marijuana this year.
Recently the General Assembly approved a reform to authorize cannabis come 2024, a 72-hour delay that disappointed multiple Democratic legislators. Eight legislators declined to vote for the policy citing that it doesn’t adequately address racial differences in citations and arrests.
Senator Louise Lucas tweeted this week that he is encouraging his mates to join him in urging the governor to legalize cannabis on 1st July this year.
Virginia minimized the punishment for cannabis possession to a USD25 fine during last summer, however, court records indicate that Black individuals are likely to get a citation four times more than white folks irrespective of the fact that there’s no difference of consumption between the two entities.
This year’s Senate legalization legislation focused on addressing that biased treatment by ending illegalization on the use and possession of the drug by July 1st. However, the Delegates House rebuffed that language.
Charniele Herring, House Majority leader, sponsored the proposal in the House and said she’s worried about legalizing marijuana before businesses are permitted to sell it since this would promote an illegal market. Charniele and other leaders said they believe reducing the punishment on possession using a small fine is a proficient interim step.
The original language of Northam’s proposal also postponed legalization until retail sales commence.
Alena Yarmosky, the governor’s spokeswoman, asserted through an email that they didn’t abandon the issue. They were aiming at keeping individuals on board to allow them to bring the reform to the finish line. She added that they’re still listening to both chambers’ priorities as they revise the reform before the next session.
Clark Mercer, Ralph’s chief of staff, asserted this week that the state’s governor hasn’t shoved off speeding up the timeline and that discussions with legislators in Senate and House are just starting.