Virginia: Governor Approves Expedited July 1 Enactment Date for Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization

Democratic Governor Ralph Northam announcedamendments today to legislation (Senate Bill 1406 | House Bill 2312) establishing a statutory timeline for the legalization of marijuana possession, use, cultivation, and retail sales. Governor Northam recommended that provisions in the legislation legalizing the personal possession and personal cultivation of cannabis by adults take effect on July 1, 2021 rather than on January 1, 2024 — the enactment date initially approved by lawmakers.

Should the legislature vote to approve the amendment, those ages 21 and older would be permitted to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household without penalty later this year. The legislature is set to reconvene on April 7 to accept or reject the proposed amendments.

The timeline by which state regulators would have to enact provisions governing commercial cannabis production and sales remains January 1, 2024.

“Our Commonwealth is committed to legalizing marijuana in an equitable way,” said Governor Northam in a statement. “Virginia will become the 16th state to legalize marijuana—and these changes will ensure we do it with a focus on public safety, public health, and social justice. I am grateful to the advocates and legislators for their dedicated work on this important issue, and I look forward to this legislation passing next month.”<