Virginia: Home and Senate legislators approve measures to legalize marijuana in historic votes

For the first time, members of the Virginia House of Representatives and the Senate today separately approved a pair of adult marijuana legalization measures.

Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312 legalize the responsible use and personal cultivation of cannabis by adults aged 21 and over, provide the automatic deletion process for certain marijuana-related offenses, and provide a legal framework for commercial cannabis production, manufacture and testing, and retail sales. The bills also allocate a portion of the proceeds to preschool programs for young people at risk, as well as public health programs.

HB 2312 was approved by the House of Delegates with 55 to 42 votes and passed on to the Senate for further consideration. The Senate later approved SB 1406 with 23 votes to 15, which will now be passed on to the House.

Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML’s Development Director who also serves as Virginia NORML’s Executive Director, commented on the historic votes: “The Virginians have clearly supported this issue, and Governor Northam agrees that the time has come to legalize the responsible use of cannabis by adults in the Commonwealth. And while today’s historic polls seek to put that public majority opinion into practice, NORML and others still have much to do to ensure Virginia gets it right and enforces laws that are quick and fair. “

The bill passages come on the day of Virginia’s key transfer date on which the bills must be forwarded to the opposing chamber.

The two versions of the invoices are slightly different from each other. Legislators will likely resolve these issues later in the conference committee meeting.

Separate legislative measures to facilitate the deletion of previous records, the expansion of medical cannabis, and the protection of certain employees who use cannabis outside of business hours from discrimination in the workplace have also been approved by their respective chambers of origin and will now move to the opposing chamber.

68% of Virginians support legalization

Nationwide poll data just released shows that 68% of registered voters in Virginia, including the majority of Democrats and Republicans, support legalizing adult marijuana.

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