Virginia House of Delegates and Senate Approve Cannabis Legalization Bills

RICHMOND, Va. (Feb. 5, 2021)—Today, both chambers of Virginia's legislature approved legislation that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis sales for adults 21 and over.

If a final legalization bill is signed into law, Virginia would join Illinois and Vermont as the third state to adopt a legalization policy by passing a bill through its state legislature. Thirteen additional states have legalized by voter initiative.

"Virginia appears poised to join 15 other states that have adopted sensible laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for adults," said Steve Hawkins, MPP executive director. "MPP is proud to have played an important role in all three states where the House and Senate have voted to legalize cannabis, in Vermont, Illinois, and now, Virginia."

The House of Delegates voted in favor (55-42, with 2 abstentions) of HB 2312, while the Senate voted in favor (23-15) of SB 1406. Lawmakers are expected to form a bicameral conference committee in order to merge the two versions of the legalization bills into a final proposal. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on Thursday, February 11. Gov. Ralph Northam has previously voiced his support for cannabis legalization.

To date, 15 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over, including four politically diverse states that passed marijuana legalization ballot initiatives on Election Day 2020: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. According to a November 2020 Gallup poll, 68% of Americans support marijuana legalization.

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