Virginia Legalizes Marijuana!
In a historic move, Virginia became the 16th state, and the first in the South, to legalize marijuana. On April 7, 2021, the VA general assembly, which is currently controlled by the democratic party, passed a bill that will legalize marijuana beginning July 1, 2021. This move came 3 years sooner than what Governor Northam had planned. The original date that the general assembly was aiming for was July 1, 2024. However, starting July 1 of this year, if you are 21 years or older, up to 1 ounce of marijuana will be legal to possess. You’ll also be able to grow small amounts for personal use as well – up to four pot plants per household. It will still be illegal to sell, but it may be given as gifts or received as gifts from growers. Recreational sales are still slated for 2024 and the general assembly will need to vote again before authorizing any business licenses.
The VA senate deadlocked 20 to 20 on the vote and it took the vote of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to break the tie that allowed the bill to be passed. This move to legalize marijuana earlier than originally planned is also precipitated by the social injustices that have been brought forth, largely by democrats. Studies have shown that Black Virginians were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested on marijuana charges compared to white constituents. Even when marijuana was decriminalized by making it a civil violation with a penalty of $25, this trend just mentioned didn’t decline let alone come to an end.
Despite this change making its possession legal, you also need to keep in mind that marijuana is not accepted by everyone and it’s still illegal to smoke it in public, including in a vehicle. Also, possession of any amount is still illegal for those under 21 years of age. If you possess marijuana in public areas, or are caught smoking in the public or selling it, you can be charged and arrested. I have been practicing criminal defense in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Alexandria City, and Loudoun County for over 10 years. If you find yourself in trouble, call a dependable criminal defense attorney who can help you. I do not charge for consultations. If you’re not sure of what your rights are or feel that they have been violated, please give me a call. Reaching out to me sooner than later will only benefit your case.