Marijuana Will Be Legal in Virginia Starting July
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Marijuana Will Be Legal in Virginia Starting July
Posted by CN Staff on April 09, 2021 at 06:12:00 PT
By Mel Leonor 
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
Virginia will legalize the use of recreational marijuana among adults this summer, an acceleration in the timeline that is meant to curb the disparate impact of prohibition on people of color in a Southern state remade by its Democratic legislative majority.The General Assembly on Wednesday backed a proposal from Gov. Ralph Northam to allow Virginians over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to four cannabis plants at home starting on July 1. Legalization will come with immediate spending on police training and public education, but without a legal marijuana market, which remains years away.
Virginia joins nearly 20 other states that have voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and will forever be the first state in the South to do so. Sales will remain illegal until 2024; public consumption and driving under the influence will continue to be prohibited.Democrats in Virginia hailed the legalization of marijuana as a step toward racial equity after the decadeslong “war on drugs,” which saw Black Virginians disproportionately harmed by disparate enforcement. Even after Virginia decriminalized marijuana last year, and studies showed that while different racial groups use marijuana at similar rates, Black people in the state continued to face penalties at higher rates for recreational marijuana use.This is the appeal that many Black lawmakers and civil rights advocates made to a majority-white, Democratic-controlled legislature and to the state’s governor, who vowed during the 2019 blackface scandal to dedicate the rest of his time in office to addressing racial inequities in the state.“Postponing legalization until 2024 would have only prolonged the unjust enforcement Black and Brown communities endure,” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who first proposed accelerating legalization of small amounts. “As our commonwealth begins the process of legalization and commercialization, we must continue to put social justice and equity at the forefront. Our work is not done yet.”The General Assembly rejected the speedy legalization timeline last month, but Northam revived it with amendments to the bill. His changes to House Bill 2312 cleared that chamber in a 53-44 vote, and Senate Bill 1406 cleared its chamber in a 21-20 vote. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax cast a tiebreaking vote Wednesday to put the measure over the top. (McClellan and Fairfax are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.)Republican opposition was unanimous, wide-ranging and heated. Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, and Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, bucked their party to oppose the bill. Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, abstained from voting on the measure.Northam said Wednesday night: “Marijuana laws were explicitly designed to target communities of color, and Black Virginians are disproportionately likely to be stopped, charged, and convicted. Today, Virginia took a critical step to right these wrongs and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over-criminalization.”Along with an accelerated legalization timeline, the state will move to expunge and seal criminal records related to marijuana, and to adjust sentences for marijuana crimes through the courts system.Democrats have also promised to let equity guide the creation of the new legal market, but lawmakers punted key decisions on how to set up that market until next year. Thorny debates about how to create and dole out licenses and intense lobbying from medical marijuana groups created major rifts among lawmakers that they could not resolve.For now, the state will operate in a quirky legal limbo where possession will be allowed but purchasing marijuana for recreational use would involve an illegal sale. Even people who plan to grow their own plants at home will have to procure seeds or seedlings.People would be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce, which is about 28 grams. (An average joint contains a third to a half of a gram, according to academic and federal estimates.)Anyone found with more than an ounce but less than a pound would face a $25 civil penalty. Possession of more than a pound would constitute a felony. People would be allowed to share an ounce of marijuana or less with other people, as long as there is no exchange of money or goods.People under the age of 21 would face a $25 civil penalty for possession of any marijuana, and undergo treatment and education.Driving with marijuana in the cabin of the car would result in a Class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250.On the House and Senate floors, Republicans argued the bill was incomplete and would open Virginia to harm by making roads less safe and by encouraging use among youths.“It is clear that we are unprepared to address the issues particularly that are going to relate to children, teenagers, adolescents, and the impact of immediate legalization for them,” said Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham.Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, said that ship had sailed: “The kids are already smoking marijuana.”Northam is budgeting $1 million to pay for public education campaigns on marijuana, and another $1 million to increase the number of police officers trained to spot drug-related impairment.House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, who introduced the bill to legalize recreational marijuana, said trained officers can be called to the scene of a traffic stop to figure out whether and why a driver is impaired, particularly if a breath test finds no alcohol in their system.The state has about a dozen officers with this kind of training, said Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News. “We should have hundreds,” he added. It wasn’t immediately clear how many state and local officers would be trained with the allocation.“This amendment is the administration acknowledging that because of the legalization bill, additional Virginians are going to be put at risk on the roads because they are driving impaired, because they’re high on marijuana,” said House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah.Republicans also took issue with a labor provision the Northam administration added to the bill. The new Cannabis Control Authority would have the power to remove a company’s business license if it interfered with union organizing, paid employees less than legally required, or classified more than 10% of its workers as independent contractors.Republicans said the clause is an attack on the state’s right-to-work policy under which union membership cannot be a condition of employment — seeking to rock Democratic support for the bill. Appetite for repealing the state’s right-to-work policy among Democrats is mixed.The measure would require the legislature to reconsider this clause and certain other parts of the bill again next year — before those provisions could become law. That includes the entire framework for legal sales and who will benefit from the millions in new revenue. The state expects to haul in $564 million in new revenue over the industry’s first five years, according to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.The bill says the state will create an agency that will issue regulations. That work will start this summer.Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)Author: Mel Leonor Published: April 7, 2021Copyright: 2021 Richmond Newspapers Inc.Contact: letters timesdispatch.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on April 26, 2021 at 06:18:30 PT
I am glad you and your son has a wonderful 420.
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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on April 23, 2021 at 11:48:00 PT
My Son and I Had a Great 420
The next day it snowed. So, we celebrated again, this time in remembrance of the local law enforcement shutting down Up In Smoke Cafe and mistreating the patrons after the OCA reversed it's own ruling that "There is no law against cannabis." Thank God that we now legal cannabis!
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 21, 2021 at 05:18:30 PT
Storm Crow
Thank you! I hope it was a good day!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by Storm Crow on April 20, 2021 at 15:56:51 PT
Happy 4/20!
Have a good day everyone! 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on April 20, 2021 at 15:54:45 PT
John Tyler
Happy 420! We are slowly getting there. It's been a long time coming!
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Comment #13 posted by John Tyler on April 20, 2021 at 13:13:51 PT
420 Day
Let us today celebrate a wonderful plant given to us by nature that gives us food, fuel and fiber. It eases our pain, lighten our load, inspires our minds, and bring joy to our hearts.May waves of joy wash over you.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on April 14, 2021 at 19:02:34 PT
January 6th will never be forgotten just like 911 won't ever be forgotten. I believe in the right to protest anything but not attack our Capitol. It could have been much worse if they hadn't gotten people out of the Capitol. Protesting is a good thing for good causes but no one should incite to riot particularly someone in power. I think so many people don't understand that change is coming and people need to accept it and remember everything changes. I love this version of People Get Ready.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on April 14, 2021 at 12:15:52 PT
There was...
And a horrible, unbelievably egregious and sad event got even sadder.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 13, 2021 at 08:15:17 PT
I did a search and found something about cannabis but even bad people can smoke cannabis. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 13, 2021 at 08:00:28 PT
I haven't heard anything about cannabis on January 6th? It looked like many were on stimulants.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 13, 2021 at 07:53:14 PT
Congratulations John Tyler and Virginia!
I'm so thankful for you'll's relief from the dreadful chains of this awful prohibition. On the other hand, I'm afraid it's going to be longer, sadly, a lot longer, for Federal relief because of the totally unpatriotic behavior of a few traitorous thugs on January 6. I so wish those total unpatriots hadn't dragged cannabis into their day of spuriously ill concieved, totally revolting revolt. Aaargh. Their treasonous acts while waving cannabis around set us back. Big time. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 11, 2021 at 05:09:35 PT
John Tyler
I am so happy for you and your state! 
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on April 10, 2021 at 18:50:32 PT
first in the South
Virginians are so happy. We elected Democrats and started getting sensible governance. It seems people will have to rely on their own resources for a while though, as retail outlets won't be coming on line until 1/1/2024. It is still good.  
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on April 09, 2021 at 15:25:58 PT
Cannabis prohibition is the devil's law.
CANNABIS prohibition, persecution and extermination is the devil's law.It's not simply republican, catholic or those who compete against cannabis.This war is not won or lost here and now.Cannabis prohibition separates people from attaining the SPIRIT OF TRUTH. -!!!!!!WHICH WE GET BY LOVING ONE ANOTHER.The SPIRIT OF TRUTH is the 1 & only thing You can take with You when You die!& You BETTER have it when You leave. & that's for eternity.There is so much.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on April 09, 2021 at 15:03:22 PT
Cannabis prohibition exists for a combination of things, not simply,Repub's "base" voters, the cops...It's also churches, FAILED CLERGY. It seems especially catholics.It's also important to acknowledge what competes against cannabis, for they have lots of money and power. -Cannabis prohibition in fact in part is traced back to when hemp was being considered for fiber and textiles, competing against man made textiles, and what was it Dupont with money, power steamrolled part of the prohibition. & there are so many other examples, which still exist today and other new competitors created today.-0-Failed Clergy, You ask?While We are requested to LOVE ONE ANOTHER, by The Christ Jesus, some churches are led by clergy which does the opposite by supporting and enabling & helping create laws to cage people for using what God indicates He created and says is good on page 1. BTW, That's no accident it's on PAGE ONE. -IT WAS THAT IMPORTANT! GOD knew this was going to be an issue.!. -& addressed that right away.Failed Clergy?Cannabis prohibition is biblically ---- THE "SIN OF THE PRIESTS. !!!The New American Standard Bible uses sub-titles and the very last book of the Old Testament in Malachi 1:6-14, Sub-titled SIN OF THE PRIESTSClergy regards cannabis, (which as pointed out is good according to CREATOR)-as defiled food
-is to be despised
-The table of the Lord is to be despised
-they disdainfully sniff at it
-how tiresome it isCannabis may be used as a GATE TO THE LORD; TO GOD,FAILED CLERGY wants to shut that gate.!.-0- GO into prayer & read it. -0-Speaking of competition, Churches compete with government for control too.To rule the world, they feel they must eliminate the tree of life.
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on April 09, 2021 at 11:08:08 PT
I Was Going to Say, "Clueless!"
But I agree with both of you. It's eugenics and Pres. T's "low information voters." For an informed report on how long the War on "Drugs," i. e., people who are different, see David Malmo-Levine's latest historical treatise:Dr. H. H. Kane and the 19th Century “Hash-Heesh” Smoking Parlors of NYC
By David Malmo-Levine	on April 2, 2021
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 09, 2021 at 09:57:20 PT
I have a theory about that. Republicans really don't want people to think deeply, be understanding and compassionate and we know Cannabis does help a person think outside the box. They would rather people be fired up and fearful.
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Comment #1 posted by Vincent on April 09, 2021 at 09:15:37 PT:
The Party of No!
What is it with today's Republican Party? Why must they oppose any kinda reform of THEIR "War on the American People" -- oops! I meant, the "war on drugs"? They wanna make sure that their "base" voters, the cops, are happy by allowing them to get away with murder. Disgusting, I say.
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