Virginia’s Delegates House’s leaders are supporting a measure to enact cannabis legalization in 2022. This is different from the chamber’s perspective during past discussions with the Senate which culminated in a 2024 deadline for legal marijuana under a current reform at the governor’s court.
On Friday, House Speaker Eileen Filler asserted that the legislature-passed reform should be revised to make 1st July the effective date for lawful cannabis possession. She also submitted three other revisions regarding home cultivation, resentencing, and expungements.
On Wednesday, Governor Northam Ralph signaled he wants to push up the implementation date, stating that he doesn’t think the state should be penalizing or arresting anyone for a substances they are about to legalize.
He said that he plans to avail several amendments before the legislature and hopes to advance it forward.
The current legislature-approved draft proposal would still criminalize cultivation and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes up to 1st January 2024, after the retail market is established. Activists have said that those measures should be authorized soon while the commercial market regulations are launched.
Filler-Corn agrees but she also intends to make more amendments before the reform is signed.
In her tweet, she highlighted three amendments she expects to be included in the bill;
1) automatic removal of non-violent marijuana-related convictions starting July
2) awarding folks with non-violent MJ convictions a resentencing opportunity
3) authorizing home grow for recreational purposes on July 1st.
The speaker admitted that legalization alone wouldn’t be sufficient and Virginia needs to fight the historically disproportionate targeting of individuals of color concerning non-violent cannabis-associated misdemeanors.
She said that every Virginian would be on board in the state’s pursuit to undo past wrongs, adding that change is long overdue and it can’t wait any longer.
She further said that handling past inequities is essential.