Virginia’s 2024 Marijuana Legalization


© Tony Webster

An image of a protest for marijuana legalization.

Gianna Iadevaia, Reporter

Virginia will soon become the first Southern state in the nation to allow Virginians 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. On Saturday, February 28th, Virginia lawmakers approved a bill to legalize the sale and recreational use of marijuana, but it will not be implemented until 2024.

The bill will make Virginia the 16th state in the nation to legalize marijuana, with commercial sales beginning in 2024. A second vote from the General Assembly will be required next year to finalize the legislation, but only to verify regulatory framework and criminal penalties. On the marijuana legislation itself, a second vote will not be required. “It’s been a lot of work to get here, but I would say that we’re on the path to an equitable law allowing responsible adults to use cannabis,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin, the chief sponsor of the Senate bill.

Most of the Democratic lawmakers agreed with the legislation, while Republican lawmakers spoke against it. The bill was a top priority for Democrats, according to NBC 12.

30 percent of marijuana tax revenue will be going to a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund in order to assist communities that have been over-policed for marijuana crimes, or pre-judged because of the community that they live in. Funds will also be going towards the children in the schools of those communities to work towards scholarships, workforce development, and job placement services.

“If we have already made the decision that simple possession should be repealed, we could have done that today and ended the disproportionate fines on communities of color,” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan.