Virginia governor pushes to legalize marijuana
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Gov. Ralph Northam is pushing to legalize marijuana for recreational utilize in Virginia, which can well maybe presumably be the first Southern explain to attain so.
Northam launched his enhance for legalization Monday, announcing he wants a responsible method that promotes racial fairness and preserves childhood safety. The Democratic governor said he goes to suggest legislation in some unspecified time in the future of next yr’s legislative session, a process he said may well maybe hold as a lot as 2 years. Nevertheless he added that he’s particular the drug will sooner or later be gorgeous for private utilize.
“Legalizing marijuana will occur in Virginia,” Northam said.
The governor had previously supported decriminalizing marijuana but now not stout legalization. He said there are a complete lot of clarification why he modified his thoughts, at the side of unequal punishments for marijuana-associated crimes amongst folks of color. A brand unusual legislative file issued Monday showed that the frequent arrest fee of Shaded Virginians these days for marijuana possession was once 3.5 times elevated than the arrest fee for whites.
Northam said it’s also particular that the public’s views hold largely shifted in desire of legalization.
“As governor, I listen to folks,” Northam said.
He said he’s by no method tried the drug himself.
The governor’s announcement comes as marijuana turns into extra broadly popular in some unspecified time in the future of the US. Within the most contemporary election, measures to legalize recreational pot passed in progressive New Jersey, realistic Arizona and conservative Montana and South Dakota. Fifteen states hold now broadly legalized it, whereas 36 states enable scientific marijuana.
Voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly accredited scientific marijuana this month.
A Gallup Polllaunched on Nov. 9 indicated that 68% of Americans desire legalizing marijuana – double the approval fee in 2003. That large margin was once evident within the election, with marijuana measures passing with stable bipartisan enhance.
Democrats took withhold watch over of both chambers of the General Assembly this yr and hold been veritably receptive to loosening prison penalties. Northam signed a invoice decriminalizing marijuana earlier this yr that passed with bipartisan enhance.
Dwelling Minority Chief Del. Todd Gilbert, a Republican, said he’s adverse to marijuana legalization in Virginia but is restful willing to give “constructive solutions” on how the explain may well maybe restful proceed if legalization sooner or later passes.
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