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Northam Administration releases report on marijuana legalization

1 December 2020 News

Gov. Ralph Northam yesterday released his administration’s report on the impact of legalizing adult-use marijuana in Virginia.

According to a news release, the report is the final product of the Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group, and it results from a diverse, stakeholder-driven process that involved community leaders, healthcare professionals, policy experts and government officials. This months-long effort was a key part of marijuana decriminalization legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, and follows Northam’s recent announcement that he intends to advance marijuana legalization in Virginia. 

The comprehensive report outlines aspects of marijuana legalization in the state including taxation, banking, criminal justice, licensing and regulation, and consumer safety. It also provides additional details on the five key principles that Gov. Northam wants to see in any final legalization bill: 

  • Social equity, racial equity, and economic equity. Marijuana prohibition historically has been based in discrimination, and criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities. Legislation should focus on undoing these harms by including initiatives such as social equity license programs, access to capital, community reinvestment, and sealing or expunging records of past marijuana-related convictions.
  • Public health. Legislation should include substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities. 
  • Protections for young people. As a pediatrician, Governor Northam will require any legislation include protections for Virginia’s youth, including age limits, mandatory ID checks, and education campaigns.
  • Upholding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act. Legislation should be aligned with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act prohibiting indoor tobacco use, which Governor Northam championed as a state Senator.
  • Data collection. Legislation should ensure Virginia collects appropriate and ongoing information on safety, health, and equity.

The full report is available here.

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Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/shallow-focus-photography-of-cannabis-plant-606506/

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