Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bills Sail Though Committees As Key Friday Deadline Nears

MJ moment

Proposals to legalize marijuana in Virginia cleared key committee votes in both chambers of the state legislature over the weekend and Monday morning as lawmakers raced to qualify the bills for full floor votes ahead of an upcoming mid-session deadline on Friday. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and top lawmakers unveiled the legalization plan in mid-January, on the first day of a short 2021 legislative session scheduled to end later this month. To survive into the next stage of the session, versions of the marijuana proposal must pass the Senate and House of Delegates by Friday, the state’s so-called crossover deadline. “This is a breakneck speed for us,” Del. Vivian Watts (D), vice chair of the House Courts of Justice Committee, said at a virtual meeting on Sunday, where the panel voted to approve the House version of the legislation, HB 2312, and refer it to the House Appropriations Committee. If it succeeds there, the measure would next advance to the House floor. Our bill on cannabis legalization is continuing to make its way through the process. It passed House Courts committee & is moving to Appropriations next week. Proud to serve as Chief patron on this ground breaking legislation that is huge step towards justice in the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/mSiHG3UIgN — Charniele Herring (@C_Herring) January 31, 2021 On the Senate side, the Judiciary Committee approved that chamber’s version of the bill, SB 1406, at a hearing Monday morning after it cleared that panel’s Expungement subcommittee over the weekend. That bill now goes to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, next scheduled to meet on Tuesday, before potentially proceeding to the full Senate. All told, the two marijuana legalization bills sailed through a total of five committees and subcommittees over the past three days alone. Despite amendments made in both chambers, lawmakers…

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