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US Marijuana: Virginia lawmakers OK possession starting July 1

05:15  08 april  2021
05:15  08 april  2021 Source:   cnn.com

State lawmakers warm up to weed

  State lawmakers warm up to weed More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states that have embraced full legalization. Roughly two-thirds of American back legal weed, according to polls. The acceptance of legal weed by governors and state lawmakers in 2021 — without the explicit blessing of voters — marks a turning point. Until this year, only two states had legalized recreational marijuana programs through the legislature: Illinois in 2019 and Vermont in 2020.“The sky hasn't fallen in those states that have legalized,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for legalization advocacy organization Marijuana Policy Project.

The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill legalizing simple possession of marijuana , becoming the latest state to modify its laws around cannabis use and possession that disproportionately jailed Black people for nonviolent offenses.

Richmond, VA : Legislation passed this spring decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses and sealing the records of past convictions from public view takes effect on Wednesday, July 1 , 2020. “NORML is proud to have worked alongside Senator Ebbin and Delegate Herring, both longtime champions of evidence-based cannabis policy, to “ Virginians have long opposed the criminalization of personal marijuana possession , and the enactment of this legislation turns that public opinion into public policy.” However, Pedini added that additional legislative reforms will continue to be necessary.

The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill legalizing simple possession of marijuana, becoming the latest state to modify its laws around cannabis use and possession that disproportionately jailed Black people for nonviolent offenses.

a group of people in front of a building © Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, allows anyone in the state 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. The law also "modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses," according to a summary posted to the Legislature's website.

The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally

  The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally States holding out on legalizing marijuana will look profoundly out-of-step with the public come time for the midterm elections. Justin Strekal is the political director of NORML.

Virginia legislators voted Wednesday to amend the state’s bill to legalize marijuana , making possession of the drug legal as soon as this summer. The bill to legalize the sale and recreational use of marijuana originally passed in February, but would not have been enacted until 2024. “Today, Virginia can make history as the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of marijuana —and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over criminalization,” Northam said Wednesday before the vote. “ I urge the General Assembly to adopt my amendments and make this

Virginia ’s medical marijuana program is just getting off the ground, and lawmakers passed a bill this session that would expand the program to allow marijuana flower products. The details: The bill would allow adults over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana . Home cultivation of up to four plants per household would be allowed under the bill. The bill sets a 21 percent excise tax on marijuana and allows municipalities to add an additional 3 percent tax on retailers on top of existing sales taxes.

"Virginia led and made history once again today," Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who cast the tie-breaking vote in the state Senate, said in a tweet.

"I was proud to cast the tie-breaking vote to legalize marijuana and bring long overdue justice, fairness, equity and opportunity to the people of our great Commonwealth."

The bill had originally passed in late February, but Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam sent it back to the Legislature with a series of revisions, including a proposal to accelerate the timeline of its enactment to this July instead of 2024.

"I am pleased that the General Assembly accepted my proposal to make this change on July 1, 2021 nearly three years earlier than planned," Northam said in a statement Wednesday.

New York's Marijuana Legalization Could Result in Sealing More Than 107,000 Past Convictions

  New York's Marijuana Legalization Could Result in Sealing More Than 107,000 Past Convictions New York on Wednesday became the 15th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.Under the new law, anyone previously convicted of possessing an amount of marijuana that is now legal automatically will be subject to expungement and re-sentencing.

(AP) — Virginia ’s House speaker on Friday mentioned she helps transferring up the date for legalizing grownup leisure use of marijuana in Virginia to this summer season, a key change pushed by advocates who’ve sharply criticized laws authorized by lawmakers final month that might delay legalization till 2024. The Senate had sought to legalize easy possession on July 1 to instantly finish punishments for folks with small quantities of marijuana , however House Democrats had argued that legalization with no authorized market for marijuana might promote the expansion of the black market.

Virginia lawmakers approved a bill Saturday that would legalize the sale and recreational use of marijuana — but not until 2024. The move makes Virginia the first Southern state to vote to legalize recreational marijuana , joining 15 other states and the District of Columbia. "The House and Senate took a strong step in legalizing the sale and possession of Marijuana here in the Commonwealth," Filler-Corn said on Twitter. "This legislation will make our criminal justice system fairer and help end the targeting of black and brown communities over the possession of cannabis."

"Marijuana laws were explicitly designed to target communities of color, and Black Virginians are disproportionately likely to be stopped, charged, and convicted. Today, Virginia took a critical step to right these wrongs and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over-criminalization."

Still, the measure was met with fierce opposition from state GOP lawmakers Wednesday, including Del. Chris Head, who called it a "train wreck" during a virtual House floor speech.

"If this policy change is to be undertaken, it has to be undertaken prudently, and I understand the enormous pressure on the majority party to make this change right now. I understand that opposing immediate legislation and legalization is going to anger many of your constituents. And I understand that taking the time to do this right might possibly even lead to charges of racism," he said.

"But we have to do this right. And doing it right takes time."

Marijuana advocates point to racial disparities in Marvin Scott case

  Marijuana advocates point to racial disparities in Marvin Scott case Seven Texas officers have been fired in the death of Scott, a Black inmate. Scott, a 26-year-old Black man, was arrested on March 14 on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge in Allen, Texas. Authorities say he had less than 2 ounces of marijuana on him at the time of the arrest. Following his arrest, he was taken to the hospital for acting erratically, police said, and transported to a county jail. He died later that day.

Virginia lawmakers have approved legislation legalizing recreational use of marijuana and commercial sales starting in 2024. Richard Vogel/AP hide caption. " Virginia just took a major step towards legalizing marijuana in our commonwealth," Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. But the compromise legislation has drawn criticism from some Democratic lawmakers and advocates, who have taken issue with key provisions of the bill, including how the specifics of new commercial and criminal justice regulations will be decided next year, when

Virginia lawmakers approved a bill to decriminalize simple marijuana possession earlier this year, and it went into effect on July 1 . It makes possession of up to one ounce a civil penalty punishable by a fine with no threat of jail time. But while advocates view that development as a significant victory, legislators are also looking for ways to build upon the reform. For example, a Senate floor vote is imminent for a separate bill that would allow a person to petition for an “expungement of the police and court records relating to convictions of marijuana possession ” and other low-level offenses after

Legalization advocates have long touted the righting of past criminal justice wrongs, eliminating illegal market activity and generating additional tax revenue when they've pushed for overhauling state cannabis laws.

"At the end of the day, economics talk and jobs talk," Jessica Billingsley, chief executive officer of Akerna, which makes regulatory compliance software that helps states track cannabis sales from seed to sale, previously told CNN.

"I truly believe we're going to see some very meaningful and important movement coming out of this as states and governors look for a way to bolster their economy."

Cannabis sales in states that have legalized the plant for medical and recreational purposes totaled about $15 billion in 2019, and are expected to top $30 billion by 2024, according to data from BDS Analytics, which tracks dispensary sales.

Why Virginia's abolition of the death penalty is a big deal .
Virginia's decision to abolish capital punishment is a move that experts and death penalty abolition advocates is emblematic not only of the nationwide decline of capital punishment, but also a reckoning with its history as a tool of racial oppression. "If we can do it, surely other states can make this happen," said the Rev. LaKeisha Cook, criminal justice reform organizer of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, who had advocated for the repeal. "Because truth be told, people probably never even expected Virginia to be able to abolish the death penalty." © Jack Mayer/Office of the Governor of Virginia Gov.

usr: 1
This is interesting!