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Northam pushes for legalization of marijuana in State of the Commonwealth address

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 4:51 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — In his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night, Governor Ralph Northam noted it was time Virginia joined 16 other states in making marijuana legal.

The Virginia General Assembly will be taking up a total of 9 marijuana-related bills in its current session.

Virginia NORML, a nonprofit advocating for marijuana reform, said they’re happy to see the support from administration as legislators debate the bills.

“Legalization really provides the state opportunity to apply public and consumer safety guidelines that simply aren’t in place when the control of the cannabis market is ceded to untaxed and unregulated enterprises,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, Development Director for NORML, and Executive Director of Virginia NORML‚ said.

Governor Northam said the revenue created could help communities most disproportionately impacted by unfairness in Virginia law.

The overall proposed tax on marijuana sales would be around 30 percent.

“The JLARC proposal targeted a 25 to 30% tax rate, and in this proposal, it’s a little on the high side. I’m not certain that’s exactly what Virginians had in mind,” Pedini said.

With the legalization of marijuana would also come the automatic expungement of low-level marijuana-related convictions, which could impact as many as 230,000 Virginians.

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