Virginia becomes first state in southern US to legalize pot – Times of India

WASHINGTON: Virginia Wednesday became the first state in the southern United States to approve the use of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
State Senate and the House of Delegates voted to allow adults to possess marijuana from July 1, to an extent approved despite fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers.
Democratic governor Ralph northam in a statement, his state “made history as the first southern state to legalize simple possession of marijuana.”
“Marijuana laws were explicitly designed to target communities of color, and black Virginians are disproportionately at risk of arrest, charge and conviction,” he said.
“Today, Virginia has taken a critical step to right these wrongs and bring justice to those who have been harmed by decades of over-criminalization.”
Several other American states, including New York and Colorado, have approved similar measures, but Virginia is the first to do so in the socially and politically conservative southern United States.
A measure approved by the state in February would have seen the state legalize the jar by 2024, but Northam has asked lawmakers to move that date forward in an effort to avoid problems for regular users.
Adults over the age of 21 will be able to legally own up to one ounce (28.3 grams) of cannabis for personal use, as well as grow up to four plants per household.
Similar to public consumption limits, public cannabis use will not be permitted.
The licensing of cannabis production and commercial cannabis sales will not take place until July 1, 2024.
“Legalization will end the thousands of low level marijuana offenses that occur each year … ending a discriminatory practice that too often targets young, poor and colored Virginians,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini of NORML , a national lobbying group for the legalization of the pot.

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