Virginia Gov. Ralph Northan plans to set the path as the first U.S. state in the South to allow recreational use of marijuana.
“Legalizing marijuana will happen in Virginia, and as it happens, we want to make sure that we regulate it properly and that we do it the right way,” Northam said during a press conference call with reporters. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found that even though Black and white Virginians use marijuana at similar rates, Black state residents are 3 times more likely to face arrest. The overall plan is to move towards decriminalization and join the 15 other states that have already done so. Marijuana is fully legal in;
- Washington D.C.
- South Dakota
- New Jersey
- New York.
The NBA is even looking into continuing its relaxed ban on recreational drugs as they did during their resumed season in the Bubble.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study also found that legalization could generate more than $300 million per year in tax revenues by the 5th year in operation. Then if they also decriminalize, it could reduce marijuana arrests by 84%. Plus more than 11,000 jobs could be created with the legalization of marijuana. Over 120,000 Virginians would benefit from these actions going into effect.
If things go as planned to legalize adult use of marijuana in Virginia, it would likely take at least two years to put a regulatory structure in place and begin licensing companies to operate in the state, according to the study. Gov. Northam plans to propose legislation legalizing marijuana when the General Assembly convenes in January.