Virginia is about to turn out to be the primary Southern state to legalize marijuana, an indication of the occasions in a state the place Democrats have soared to energy lately.
The state’s Basic Meeting voted 55-42 on Friday to permit the possession, manufacture and sale of the substance. The laws now goes to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has already indicated he’ll signal it. After he does, regulated retailers will have the ability to begin promoting hashish in 2024.
“If you wish to assist marginalized communities, right here is a chance,” Del. Don Scott mentioned on the listening to, The Virginian-Pilot reported. “This is a chance to put money into these communities which were decimated by the so-called conflict on medicine and to offer us an financial leg up.”
A 2018 investigation by The Each day Press discovered that the state’s marijuana legal guidelines unfairly focused Black Virginians. The assessment of courtroom information discovered that white individuals charged with marijuana possession have been extra prone to get a second probability, whereas Black defendants have been way more prone to spend time behind bars. Though solely 20% of the state’s residents are Black, and despite the fact that surveys have repeatedly proven Black and white individuals use marijuana at comparable charges, half of these charged in Virginia with first-offense marijuana possession have been Black.
The sale of marijuana in Virginia, the place Democrats took full management of the state’s legislature In 2019, is predicted to lift about $300 million in tax income, a state examine discovered. With Northam’s signature, the cash raised will go towards preschool and public well being packages, habit therapy and packages to handle the results of marijuana’s criminalization.
Northam is also growing a plan to expunge marijuana-related offenses, his workplace mentioned final month.