VA Governor Proposes New Deadline of July 1, 2021 for Adult-Use Marijuana Possession Legalization
Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Northam Moves Virginia Closer to Faster Legalization, But Details Uncertain
Today, Governor Northam announced exciting amendments to the adult-use marijuana legislation that passed through the Virginia House and Senate earlier in 2021, just in time for the signature deadline on March 31.
The proposed amendment expedites the deadline for legalized adult-use marijuana possession and cultivation, moving the date from January 1, 2024, to July 1, 2021. This amendment would make it completely legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to four plants for personal use starting later this year.
It does not affect the current medical marijuana program, which makes it legal for Virginia residents who have been diagnosed with a condition that qualifies for treatment with therapeutic cannabis to purchase products from licensed dispensaries in the state.
The amendment includes social equity and justice provisions that will help to reduce or eliminate unequal enforcement targeting people of color in Virginia, and Democratic lawmakers argue that it makes no sense to hold off on legalizing something just because retail access is not yet ready.
“Virginia will become the 15th state to legalize marijuana—and these changes will ensure we do it with a focus on public safety, public health, and social justice. I am grateful to the advocates and legislators for their dedicated work on this important issue, and I look forward to this legislation passing next month,” Governor Northam said in a statement released earlier this morning.
What Happens Next in Virginia Adult-Use Marijuana Legislation?
The proposed amendments must go back to the legislative branches for final approval. The date to keep an eye on now, is April 7th, 2021. This is when the Virginia Legislature will reconvene to accept or reject the amended bill.
Northam is confident that the changes will get sufficient support to pass, but there is a fair amount of Republican opposition despite overwhelming public support.
One of the big sticking points is that there are still no solid provisions for access to legal adult-use marijuana before 2024. This means that while it would be legal to possess a small amount of marijuana and to cultivate up to four plants, there will still not be legal retail for several more years. A situation where it is legal to possess marijuana with nowhere to purchase it could embolden black markets and make enforcement even more complicated.
NORML is pushing for an amendment giving Virginia adults access to currently operating medical marijuana dispensaries, but that could cut into supply for patients who are using cannabis to treat their conditions.
Get A Virginia Marijuana Card for Medical Marijuana Right Now
At Virginia Marijuana Card, we understand the excitement for a thriving adult-use marijuana market—and we support it! However, the future of the current adult-use cannabis bill is still a bit uncertain, and we have yet to see its final iteration.
While you wait for your state politicians to figure out how they plan to move forward, consider relieving some of the stress of watching the drama by getting yourself a Virginia marijuana card. If you have a qualifying condition, we can help you get the natural relief you deserve without having to wait for another legislative session to decide your fate.
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At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
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