Northam Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law
It’s official: Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation Wednesday that makes marijuana legal in Virginia.Northam cited a report put out by the state’s legislative watchdog agency last year stating Black Virginians are more than three times more likely to be arrested for simple possession. He said that was one of the reasons why he pushed for legalization this summer.
"And arrests for simple possession can literally follow someone for a very long time," he explained. "And unfortunately, arrests can sometimes escalate into something much more dangerous as we are all much more aware of lately."
The governor also talked about what’s on the horizon when commercial sales are allowed to begin in 2024.
"In fact, JLARC estimates that this industry will create over 11,000 jobs in sectors ranging from farming to the building trades to professional services," he explained.
Northam also said the state must make sure those business opportunities are as equitable as possible. The legislation includes a multi-year plan to promote diverse ownership in the new industry.
Marijuana legalization will take effect in Virginia on July 1st.