By Mel Leonor, 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.