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Virginia governor seeks to accelerate marijuana legalization

FILE - In this March 30, 2021, file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at a news...
FILE - In this March 30, 2021, file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at a news conference to announce the expansion of commuter rail in Virginia at the Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria Station, in Alexandria, Va. Adults in Virginia could legally possess and grow small amounts of marijuana beginning in July, about three years sooner than initially envisioned, under changes the governor proposed Wednesday, March 31, to legislation passed earlier this year.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)(Andrew Harnik | AP Photo)
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — People 21 and over in Virginia could legally possess and grow small amounts of marijuana beginning in July under changes the governor is proposing to legislation the General Assembly passed this year.

That’s about three years faster than the original legislation.

Racial justice advocates and some fellow Democrats had called on Gov. Ralph Northam to speed up the timeline for legalization. Retail sales won’t go into effect until 2024 under the bill.

Lawmakers will convene in April to consider Northam’s proposed amendments.

Northam’s office said Black Virginians have been disproportionately policed and convicted for using marijuana, even after lawmakers decriminalized marijuana last year.

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