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Virginia lawmakers working with Gov. Northam to legalize marijuana in July

Dean Mirshahi

House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said Friday she supports moving marijuana legalization to the summer and is working with lawmakers and the governor on a possible solution.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia lawmakers are working with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to amend the marijuana legalization bill passed in February in an effort to allow simple possession in July instead of 2024.

Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) tweeted Friday that she is working with her colleagues in the General Assembly and Northam to move up the timeline to July, a change advocacy groups have pushed for and believe was needed to address racial equity issues with decriminalization.

“The legalization of Marijuana is a critical step in the direction of creating a fairer and more equitable Virginia,” Filler-Corn wrote. “I continue to work with @C_Herring@delegatebagby, my colleagues in the House & Senate & @GovernorVA to amend our bill with a legalization date of July, 1st, 2021.”Black Virginians four times as likely to be cited for marijuana possession 

Multiple sources have told 8News discussions have taken place and Northam is considering an amendment but nothing is finalized. VPM News reported Thursday that the governor is expected to amend the bill.

Legislators in the General Assembly compromised on a bill calling for legal sales and the repeal of the civil penalty for simple possession, which is up to an ounce in Virginia, to begin in 2024.

Filler-Corn announced three other amendments she is pushing to be added to the measure. They include a way for those incarcerated for non-violent marijuana-related charges to have re-sentencing, start automatic expungement for people convicted of non-violent marijuana-related crimes on July 1 and legalize limited private cultivation for personal use.

“In our pursuit of righting past wrongs, no Virginian can be left behind,” Filler-Corn wrote in her statement.

Several attempts to reach the governor’s office on the matter have been unsuccessful.

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