Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam considers speeding up legalization of marijuanaPosted by On


In addition to delaying legalization until 2024, the bill also requires significant components of the comprehensive package to be reenacted by the legislature next year. Many advocates — and some Democratic lawmakers — complained that the delays had all but gutted the bill.

Attention immediately shifted to Northam (D), who has until the end of March to sign, veto or amend the legislation. His advisers have already met once with lawmakers and their staffs to look at possible changes, and more meetings are set for next week.

The General Assembly will reconvene for one day on April 7 to consider Northam’s actions on that or any other bills. Whatever the governor comes up with will have to win a majority of votes in the House and Senate to be enacted.

Speeding up the date at which adults can legally possess small amounts of marijuana “is something we’re open to, something we’re talking about with both chambers,” Northam chief of staff Clark Mercer said in an interview.

“I feel pretty good that we will legalize simple possession before 2024 so that we can stop Black and Brown people being disproportionately charged,” said Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond), who had tried during the General Assembly session to amend the bill with an earlier date.

The date gets at a fundamental dilemma lawmakers never quite settled: Establishing a new, regulated cannabis industry will take time — a whole new state agency has to be created, licenses issued, and so on. If the…

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In addition to delaying legalization until 2024, the bill also requires significant components of the comprehensive package to be reenacted by the legislature next year. Many advocates — and some Democratic lawmakers — complained that the delays had all but gutted the bill.

Attention immediately shifted to Northam (D), who has until the end of March to sign, veto or amend the legislation. His advisers have already met once with lawmakers and their staffs to look at possible changes, and more meetings are set for next week.

The General Assembly will reconvene for one day on April 7 to consider Northam’s actions on that or any other bills. Whatever the governor comes up with will have to win a majority of votes in the House and Senate to be enacted.

Speeding up the date at which adults can legally possess small amounts of marijuana “is something we’re open to, something we’re talking about with both chambers,” Northam chief of staff Clark Mercer said in an interview.

“I feel pretty good that we will legalize simple possession before 2024 so that we can stop Black and Brown people being disproportionately charged,” said Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond), who had tried during the General Assembly session to amend the bill with an earlier date.

The date gets at a fundamental dilemma lawmakers never quite settled: Establishing a new, regulated cannabis industry will take time — a whole new state agency has to be created, licenses issued, and so on. If the…



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