Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bills Cleared For Full Senate And House Votes This Week

MJ moment

Bills to legalize marijuana in Virginia advanced out of two committees on Wednesday, the final step before full floor action. The Senate Finance & Appropriates Committee and House Appropriations Committees each passed reform legislation ahead of a mid-session deadline approaching on Friday. Both bills have gone through multiple panels since Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and top lawmakers unveiled their legalization plan last month. The Senate panel approved its bill 11-4, while the House of Delegates committee cleared its version 13-7, with one abstention. “Marijuana prohibition has historically been used based in discrimination and the impact of the criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority and low-income communities,” House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D) said at the opening of the committee hearing in her chamber. “This legislation focuses on undoing these harms by including funding for automatic expungement of marijuana-related offenses, promotion of diverse participation in the newly created cannabis industry and reinvestments in the communities harmed by prohibition,” she said. During a series of earlier hearings over the weekend, members raised questions about various components of the proposals, especially as they concern market regulations, effective dates, social equity programs and penalties for violating the law. While not all of these issues have been resolved, legislative leaders have stressed that there will be further opportunities to revise the measures. But that requires both chambers to pass their respective versions by Friday so that they can be crossed over. After that point it is expected that a bicameral conference committee will be empaneled to resolve the differences between the two chambers’ bills and merge them into a single proposal that the full legislature can send to the governor’s desk. With Wednesday’s votes, it seems the legislature is on track to accomplish that. Under the legislation, adults 21 and older would be able to…

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Source : Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bills Cleared For Full Senate And House Votes This Week

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