Virginia Will Become the First Southern State to Join This Chorus Regarding the Use of a Certain Drug

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Posted: Apr 22, 2021 6:00 PM
Virginia Will Become the First Southern State to Join This Chorus Regarding the Use of a Certain Drug

Source: AP Photo/Jim Mone

If there is one issue that’s done a complete 180-degree turn in recent years, it’s marijuana decriminalization or legalization. The other would probably be gay marriage. Two former hot button social issues that have undergone a facelift. Scores of states have joined the push to loosen their draconian regimes on marihuana especially. Sixteen states have legalized it, with 36 permitting it for medicinal purposes (via Business Insider):

Since 2012, 16 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. And 36 states have legalized medical marijuana — meaning that a majority of Americans have access to marijuana, whether medically or recreationally.

Three states, including New Mexico, Virginia, and South Dakota have either voted for or passed legalization, though the laws are yet to take effect. In South Dakota's case, the law remains mired in legal challenges and opposition from Gov. Kristi Noem.

In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the bill into law on Monday. While state residents will be able to grow and possess marijuana as soon as June 29, retail sales are set to begin next year.

[…]

New YorkGov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing marijuana on March 31. His move came shortly after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation officially legalizing marijuana in his state.

New Jersey was one of four states, along with Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota, where voters backed legalizing recreational cannabis in November. Voters in Mississippi approved the creation of a medical cannabis program.

More states are set to join the chorus. Ohio seems poised to legalize recreational use in due time. In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill into law legalizing marijuana which goes into effect on July 1 (via Reuters):

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that legalises the simple possession of marijuana, making the state the first in the U.S. south to allow the drug's recreational use, the governor said.

In a bid to tackle racial disparities in the prosecution of marijuana-related crimes, the state accelerated to July 1 its timetable to pass the legislation, rather than waiting until 2024.

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The legislation, signed a day after the informal April 20 pot holiday, also known as 4/20, allows anyone aged 21 or more to possess up to one ounce (28.4 grams) of marijuana.

People in the state can cultivate up to four cannabis plants per home for personal use.

Yeah, I can’t really say much about this other than I’m for it. The drug war is a failure. It’s constitutionally questionable regarding its tactics. And it’s time for it to end.