Gov. Ralph Northam today announced he will introduce and support legislation to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The announcement comes as the Northam administration prepares to release a report on the impact of legalizing adult-use marijuana, which was compiled with  input from government officials, policy experts, healthcare professionals and community leaders.

“It’s time to legalize marijuana in Virginia,” said Northam. “Our Commonwealth has an opportunity to be the first state in the South to take this step, and we will lead with a focus on equity, public health, and public safety. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to get this right.”

In a news release, Northam said his administration is working closely with lawmakers to finalize legislation in advance of the 2021 General Assembly session. Today, Governor Northam made clear that any legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana will need to address the following five principles:

  • Social equity, racial equity, and economic equity. Marijuana prohibition has historically been based in discrimination, and the impact of criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities as result. A report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) issued today found that Black Virginians are arrested and convicted for marijuana use at more than three times the rate of white Virginians. Legislation should focus on undoing these harms by including initiatives such as social equity license programs, access to capital, community reinvestment, and sealing or expunging records of past marijuana-related convictions.
  • Public health. Legislation should include substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities.
  • Protections for young people. As a pediatrician, Governor Northam will require any legislation include protections for Virginia’s youth, including age limits, mandatory ID checks, and education campaigns.
  • Upholding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act. Legislation should be aligned with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act prohibiting indoor tobacco use, which Governor Northam championed as a state senator.
  • Data collection. Legislation should ensure Virginia collects appropriate and ongoing information on safety, health, and equity.

This year, Northam signed legislation that decriminalized simple marijuana possession in Virginia. The legislation also required the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Finance, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security to convene a Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group to study the impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana and report the recommendations of the work group to the General Assembly and the governor by Nov. 30.


(15) comments


Way to go Goose


ABC - alcohol beverage control / MSC - marijuana smoke control ?


Ol conman must be into the devil’s lettuce 🤔


of course. TAX REVENUE is needed !! The state is no different than the mafia -- runs gambling, cigs, drugs, alcohol -- last thing, tax prostitution.


Time for King Northam to end his reign. Kirk Cox for governor. A moderate who stands the best chance of reuniting government in VA.


Your comment is relevant to the story posted..


There is nothing this state needs more than a bunch more potheads. Democrats feel that keeping the general population ignorant and stoned will keep them in power. Look how great pot legalization has worked in other states. Plus, 2nd-hand pot smoke is excellent for children.


It says no smoking indoors? Don’t think the wind will carry and marijuana clouds over children. Obviously there will be rules. It’s legal for medicinal reasons in 15 states . Do you think kids re dying there from 2nd hand smoke anymore the tobacco smoke has been killing children for years.


Why is there a disproportionate amount of white people in Republican counties that abuse hard drugs like heroin, meth, and prescription opioids? I mean, since we are on the subject of designating political parties to match up with drug use and all....


Meanwhile you're driving drunk everyday


Medical marijuana is one thing but this makes me sick. So, to keep a number of people from getting police records, to appeal to voters advocating for this, and to raise tax revenue, just go ahead and legalize it. Of course, the marijuana lobby probably has deep pockets and, who knows, maybe some of these politicians have stock in these companies. Some of us have extensive first-hand experience with the negatives of recreational use. One more legal drug. I don’t care what other states or countries do.


So because you had one bad experience that means everyone else should suffer the consequences because you don't know how to handle yourself?


Good move. Develop strong dui procedures .

Eliminate criminal records of past marijuana possession convictions less than ounce.


Definitely going to need this in the coming 100 years of one party rule in America


This serpent has usurped a from time and memorial way of life. Talk about oculist agendas and if it feels good do it serpent system coming in... WOW! WHen will the sheep wake up

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