There are many causes for legalization advocates to really feel assured in regards to the outlook for 2021 in Virginia. They’ve help from the sitting governor, and polls exhibiting that voters within the commonwealth are able to take the step, too. 

Now, they’ve laws to make it a actuality. The brand new invoice comes by way of Democrat Steve Heretick, a member of Virginia’s Home of Delegates who has put up legalization proposals prior to now. Whereas these earlier efforts have all fizzled out, there’s good purpose to imagine that this time will likely be totally different. 

The obvious purpose, in fact, is the dramatic shift in public opinion towards marijuana legalization in the USA—a sea change that has introduced an finish to prohibition in each blue and purple states, alike. Polls present that there’s equally sturdy help for legalization in Virginia. A 2019 survey from the College of Mary Washington discovered 61 p.c of adults within the commonwealth are in favor of marijuana legalization. 

Emboldened by these relaxed public attitudes, distinguished Democratic Virginia lawmakers have likewise embraced legalization in recent times. In 2019, Virginia Legal professional Basic Mark Herring mentioned he helps bringing an finish to prohibition; in his announcement, Herring even pointed to the ballot from College of Mary Washington as a purpose for Virginia to take the step.

 “Virginians know we will do higher. It’s time to maneuver towards authorized, regulated grownup use,” Herring mentioned on the time.

Steps To Reform In Virginia

Late final 12 months, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans to introduce laws of his personal to legalize marijuana.

“It’s time to legalize marijuana in Virginia,” Northam mentioned in his November announcement. “Our Commonwealth has a chance to be the primary state within the South to take this step, and we are going to lead with a deal with fairness, public well being, and public security. I look ahead to working with the Basic Meeting to get this proper.”

That announcement got here months after Northam signed into law a sweeping prison justice package deal that included the decriminalization of marijuana. The invoice decriminalized easy possession of pot, as an alternative establishing a $25 civil penalty for the infraction.

“Each Virginian deserves entry to a good and equitable prison justice system,” Northam mentioned after signing the laws. “These payments fight mass incarceration, enhance help for returning residents, and be sure that those that have paid their debt to society have a significant second likelihood. I thank the Basic Meeting for working with us to construct a extra simply and inclusive Commonwealth.”

All of that means there’s fertile floor for legalization in Virginia—and offers Heretick hope that 2021 will likely be his breakthrough.

“This invoice is constructed upon the teachings of different states all through the nation which have enacted comparable reforms,” Heretick mentioned, as quoted by WAVY. “With the help of Virginia’s Legal professional Basic, Mark Herring, and a rising consensus of bipartisan help from legislators and native leaders across the Commonwealth, and now Virginia Governor Northam and key members of his administration, that is laws which has now matured for enactment.”