Old Dominion hopes to legalize marijuana as votes in the General Assembly Tuesday may ensure it. Though, lawmakers must still go through the key details within the legislature. Then, they need to settle on whether to make possession legal by July 1st.
Old Dominion with the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates
Both under Democratic control, the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates, passed legislation on February 5th. It was to legalize use and possession for those 21 years and older.
The chambers have taken up each other’s legislation for review. This was after they passed their own measure on a crossover day.
Without much fanfare or debate, the bills went through the committee. This was until the Senate and House started to have discussions on their respective floors. On Tuesday, the votes were similar to those from earlier in the month.
Two Republicans abstained and one didn’t vote but the House did pass its bill 55-42 on February 5th. State senator Siobhan Dunnavant and Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel voted with the Democrats in the Senate. This was for what is a 23-15 bipartisan vote.
Then on Tuesday, Dunnvalant and Vogel did vote in support of the House’s bill for 23-16 bipartisan vote in the Senate. Moreover, in the House, two Republicans did abstain again and then the measure advanced 54-42.
Getting public support from Governor Ralph Northam and others for the push for legalization has grown. This is since the commonwealth decriminalized cannabis last year. Moreover, Northam’s proposal for legalization is ahead of the 2021 session. It has, in fact, since witnessed many changes. Yet the governor is more likely to sign the measure if it were to get to his desk.
Yet despite its approval, there are many questions that still remain. This is over whether the legislature should allow possession before the legal sales do begin.
Formally introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, the House’s version of Northam’s proposal would maintain the civil penalty enacted with decriminalization until 2024.