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More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states — 18 in total — that have embraced full legalization. Roughly two-thirds of American back legal weed, according to polls.
The acceptance of legal weed by governors and state lawmakers in 2021 — without the explicit blessing of voters — marks a turning point. Until this year, only two states had legalized recreational marijuana programs through the legislature: Illinois in 2019 and Vermont in 2020.
Virginia is close to becoming the first Southern state to get a tax revenue high as it moves to legalize recreational weed.
A bill passed Sunday in both the state’s House of Delegates and Senate is awaiting the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat.
Once signed, the Old Dominion would officially join 15 other states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use. Though under the Virginia bill, legal sales and possession would not take effect until 2024.
Only a day after a new marijuana decriminalization law took effect in Virginia, top state lawmakers are announcing that they’re already looking ahead to full legalization.
A group of Democratic legislators on Thursday announced plans to introduce a bill to legalize and regulate a commercial cannabis market in the state. While the measure isn’t set to be filed until next year, lawmakers framed legalization as necessary in the fight for social and racial justice.