Author Topic: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana  (Read 2057 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« on: April 29, 2014, 08:33:50 pm »
Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
Posted: 04/29/2014 11:02 am EDT Updated: 04/29/2014 12:59 pm EDT

It's time to "legalize it" in Illinois.

That was the message from a cohort of elected officials at a Monday press conference in downtown Chicago that called for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois.

“The main difference between the War on Drugs and Prohibition is that, after 40 years, this country still hasn’t acknowledged that the War on Drugs is a failure,” said Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In what's perhaps the strongest show of support yet for legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois, Fritchey was joined by State Representatives Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) and Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) in calling for a task force to address all aspects of legalizing recreational marijuana, WGN reports.

“We can find a way to do this and look at what other states have done, and cherry pick the good ideas, dismiss the bad ideas and find a workable policy that recognizes what we’re doing now simply isn’t right,” Fritchey said, according to WBEZ.

Facing empty state coffers and a losing war on drugs, some elected officials are viewing marijuana as a lucrative option to boost tax revenue. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana was recently legalized, the state netted roughly $2 million in tax revenue from licensed dispensaries during the first month of sales alone.

Illinois is still in the midst of crafting rules for its medical marijuana pilot program, set to become the strictest in the nation. Fritchey and others acknowledged the statewide legalization of weed for recreational use is still a ways off, but believe decriminalization is the first step.

Beyond tax revenue, Fritchey said decriminalization could soothe other issues, like the racial disparity in drug enforcement efforts and arrests.

“You’ll see people getting swept off the streets on a daily basis on the South Side and the West Side," Fritchey said, according to the Sun-Times, referencing predominantly black and Latino areas of Chicago. "You don’t see kids getting arrested in Lincoln Park."

The pro-legalization lawmakers aren't without their opponents, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. At the conference, the group said legalizing recreational weed could be particularly dangerous for teens and motorists who may drive under the influence.

Cassidy told the Sun-Times “the sky won’t fall" if marijuana is decriminalized.

"Public opinion moves much more quickly than legislators’ [opinions]," Cassidy said.

Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2019, 03:46:31 pm »
Sunday, 16th June 2019
Virginia AG calls for state to legalize marijuana
by Associated Press



(RICHMOND, Va.) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is calling for the legalization of marijuana.

Herring said Saturday that Virginia should start decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and eventually legalize the drug.

The Democratic attorney general said criminal prosecutions are costly to the state and local governments and disproportionately affect African Americans.

Herring made the remarks in an op-ed in the Daily Press and in comments to reporters at a Democratic fundraiser in Richmond.

Herring's announcement won't have any practical impact on marijuana prosecutions, which are typically handled at the local level.

But Herring said he hopes his public support for legalization will help spur lawmakers to act.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly has killed past efforts to decriminalize marijuana.






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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/virginia-ag-calls-for-state-to-legalize-marijuana/ar-AACWEDx?ocid=spartanntp

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2019, 11:47:24 am »
Sunday, 16th June 2019
Virginia AG calls for state to legalize marijuana
by Associated Press



(RICHMOND, Va.) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is calling for the legalization of marijuana.

Herring said Saturday that Virginia should start decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and eventually legalize the drug.

The Democratic attorney general said criminal prosecutions are costly to the state and local governments and disproportionately affect African Americans.

Herring made the remarks in an op-ed in the Daily Press and in comments to reporters at a Democratic fundraiser in Richmond.

Herring's announcement won't have any practical impact on marijuana prosecutions, which are typically handled at the local level.

But Herring said he hopes his public support for legalization will help spur lawmakers to act.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly has killed past efforts to decriminalize marijuana.






Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/virginia-ag-calls-for-state-to-legalize-marijuana/ar-AACWEDx?ocid=spartanntp

with the (still sorta) racially-embattled Governor Northam, and the spectre of alleged sex-assault still hanging over Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, I wonder how far this effort will go, and will it go to a state referendum or will the legislature attempt to stop it with a new state law.
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 05:41:05 pm »
Tuesday, 9th July 2019
Hawaii has decriminalized marijuana

by German Lopez



Hawaii on Tuesday decriminalized marijuana, making it the 26th state to decriminalize or legalize the drug.

The new law removes the possibility of jail time as a penalty for up to three grams of marijuana, but maintains a $130 fine.

Hawaii’s Democrat-controlled legislature approved the bill and sent it to Democratic Gov. David Ige in May.

Ige didn’t sign it, but he also didn’t veto it, effectively letting it become law on Tuesday.

The new law will take effect on January 11, 2020.

“Unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized (or legalized) simple possession of marijuana,” the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group, noted in a statement.

“Still, removing criminal penalties and possible jail time for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement.”
This is different from marijuana legalization. Under decriminalization, possession of small amounts of pot no longer carries jail or prison time but can continue to carry a fine, and possession of larger amounts, repeat offenses, and sales or trafficking can still result in harsher sentences.

Under legalization, penalties for marijuana possession are completely removed, and sales are typically allowed.

Some opponents of legalization favor decriminalization as a step toward peeling back America’s harsh drug and criminal justice policies.

They see “tough on crime” policies as too punitive and costly, but they don’t want to resort to full legalization, which they fear would make pot too accessible in the US and allow big corporations to sell and market the drug irresponsibly.

The concern for legalization advocates is that decriminalization keeps the ban on selling marijuana, which means users wouldn’t have a legal source for the drug, and criminal organizations would therefore still have a source of revenue that they can use for violent operations around the world.

The fines, while less punitive than arrests or prison time, can also cause problems, since they’re often applied in a racially disparate manner.

Eleven states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana, although DC and Vermont don’t allow sales.

Fifteen additional states, now including Hawaii, have only decriminalized.

So far, marijuana legalization has failed to gain serious traction in Hawaii’s

Supporters of legalization argue that it eliminates the harms of marijuana prohibition:

the hundreds of thousands of arrests around the US, the racial disparities behind those arrests, and the billions of dollars that flow from the black market for illicit marijuana to drug cartels that then use the money for violent operations around the world.

All of this, legalization advocates say, will outweigh any of the potential downsides — such as increased cannabis use — that might come with legalization.

Opponents, meanwhile, claim that legalization will enable a huge marijuana industry that will market the drug irresponsibly.

They point to America’s experiences with the alcohol and tobacco industries in particular, which have built their financial empires in large part on some of the heaviest consumers of their products.

This could result in far more people using pot, even if it leads to negative health consequences.

Hawaii doesn’t seem ready for legalization, but it has now embraced decriminalization.









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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/hawaii-has-decriminalized-marijuana/ar-AAE5EsG?ocid=spartandhp
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 10:02:21 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2019, 09:07:02 pm »
Sunday, 1st December 2019
Activist and poet John Sinclair among first to purchase legal recreational marijuana in Michigan, 50 years after his historic arrest

by Gus Burns





(ANN ARBOR, Michigan) -- Marijuana activist and poet John Sinclair, although older now at 78, is no less the rebel he was in 1969.

“I knew they were going to be after me, but you can’t let them determine your life,” he said of his 1971 release from prison for possession of two joints.

About 9:49 a.m. Sunday, December 1st, at Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor with a happy line of hundreds wrapped around the block, Sinclair made what was likely the first-ever licensed recreational retail marijuana sale in Michigan.

He paid $160.35 cash and grinned as he clutched a handful of pre-rolled joints with names like Gorilla Glue no. 9 and Forbidden Jelly.

“Things have come full circle, haven’t they, John,” longtime marijuana activist Rick Thompson asked Sinclair, a Detroit resident who resembles a jazz musician with his iconic goatee beard and now uses a wheelchair.

“It would be more full if they came and gave me back the weed that they took,” Sinclair responded.

Sinclair said he’s smoked marijuana every day since 1962, not including the nearly two years he spent in prison between 1969 and 1971 serving a 10-year sentences that was later overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Arbors Wellness is one of three dispensaries in Ann Arbor that received one of the state’s first recreational marijuana licenses and began selling marijuana to the general public Sunday, Dec. 1st.

There’s a reason Sinclair was at the front of the line.

Nearly 15,000 people gathered at the University of Michigan’s Crisler Center in Ann Arbor to protest harsh marijuana laws in December 1971.


“They gave him ten for two, what else could Judge Colombo do?” sang John Lennon alongside Yoko Ono as a mass of people shouted, danced and openly smoked marijuana.

They demanded the release of White Panther Party founder and activist John Sinclair.

Fifty years ago, Wayne County Judge Robert J. Colombo sentenced Sinclair, a then-27-year-old Flint native, to between 9 1/2 and 10 years in prison for possession of two marijuana joints he was accused of giving to an undercover Detroit cop.

"He isn’t a criminal, he isn’t a criminal at all,” Sinclair’s attorney Chuck Ravitz told Colombo at sentencing.

"The criminals with respect to this law are the doctors, the legislatures, the attorneys who know, who know because they have the knowledge, that these laws are unconstitutional, that these laws defy all knowledge of science.”

A half century later, the same system that sentenced Sinclair to a decade behind bars is sanctioning commercial sale of the plant that put him there, thanks to a 2018 ballot initiative passed by 56% of Michigan voters.

That vote has now come to its culmination.

Marijuana prohibition, at least in Michigan and 10 other states, is over.

After 10 a.m. Sunday, anyone with a picture ID over the age of 21 became legally able to purchase marijuana from a growing number of licensed stores across the state.

That includes four in Ann Arbor, mere miles from that historic 1971 concert that evolved into what’s now known as Hash Bash, an annual pro-marijuana rally on the University of Michigan campus.

Licensed recreational marijuana businesses as of Wednesday, November 27:

Arbors Wellness, 321 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor, 734-929-2602

Exclusive Brands at 3820 Varsity Dr. in Ann Arbor, 734-494-0772

Greenstone Provisions, 338 Ashley St. in Ann Arbor, 734-773-3075

Michigan Supply and Provisions, 1096 E. Main in Morenci, 517-458-3002

Lit Provisioning Centers, 600 W. Seventh in Evart, 231-515-1600

Skymint, 1958 S. Industrial Hwy. in Ann Arbor, 734-627-7360












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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/activist-and-poet-john-sinclair-among-first-to-purchase-legal-recreational-marijuana-in-michigan-50-years-after-his-historic-arrest/ar-BBXBubj?li=BBnbfcL

Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2019, 11:59:26 am »
Tuesday, 24th December 2019
Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on New Year's Day
by Brendan Obrien





(CHICAGO, Illinois) - Many pot-smoking adults in Illinois will ring in the new year on a high note when recreational marijuana use becomes legal in the state on Jan. 1st.


Starting New Year's Day, people 21 and older will be able to legally buy up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 5 grams of marijuana concentrate, or 500 grams of THC-infused products such as edibles at licensed commercial dealers throughout the state.

Cannabis consumers are expected to flock to the handful of licensed shops across Chicago on New Year's Day.

On the city's North Side, a dealer sold $250 tickets to clients who wanted to be at the front of the line when the store opens early in the morning next Wednesday.

Another shop, Dispensary 33, in the city's Uptown neighborhood, will use a paging system to usher in customers who are waiting at a bar next door.



"The whole neighborhood is joining on the party... it'll be a whole new world in Chicago on Jan. 1st," manager Abigail Watkins said, noting that many businesses in the neighborhood are offering specials and deals to celebrate the day.


Illinois joins 10 other states and the District of Columbia where small amounts of the drug for adult use is legal. Medical marijuana in Illinois has been legal since 2014.

In June, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed into law marijuana legislation that also allows for some 700,000 marijuana-related records and convictions to be erased.

Not everyone approves of the legislation.

"The message that... these foolish politicians are sending to our communities and especially to our young kids is that it's no big deal," said Illinois Family Institute Executive Director David Smith, who opposes the measure.

"We know that it's a big deal from all of the studies that have been done about the high-potency marijuana that is today's product... we are seeing a spike in marijuana illnesses and addictions," he said.

Private pot sales, driving while high and consuming marijuana in public will remain prohibited in state.

The law is projected to generate more than $57 million in new tax and fee revenue for Illinois in fiscal 2020, which begins on July 1 for the financially troubled state, according to Illinois’ revenue department. "Peace."

















Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 12:50:09 pm »
Friday, 22nd May 2o2o
Virginia governor signs bill decriminalizing marijuana possession
by J. Edward Moreno






Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill Thursday making it the 27th state to decriminalize marijuana possession.

The new law takes effect July 1st and reduces penalties for offenses that involve personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation.

It marks one of many progressive initiatives the state government has been able to accomplish since Democrats took over the statehouse and the governor’s office in 2019.

On Thursday, Northam signed Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972, which create a civil penalty of no more than $25 for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.

A person hit with the penalty would not be arrested and it would not create a criminal record.

The violations will be in the form of a summons, much like a motor vehicle law violations, with no court costs.

As of now, a first-offense marijuana violation in the state is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines, 30 days in jail and a criminal record.

The bills were passed by the legislature at the end of their session in March.

Under the new law, previous marijuana violations will be sealed from criminal records except for “certain circumstances," meaning people with marijuana violations won't have to disclose them when applying to schools or jobs.

“The move to decriminalize cannabis possession in Virginia is long overdue," Steve Hawkins, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release Thursday.

"We applaud the legislature and the governor for implementing a policy that will allow law enforcement to focus resources on more serious crimes and prevent Virginians from having their lives derailed for possessing cannabis, a substance that is safer than alcohol,” he added.























Would You Like To Know More?
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/499188-virginia-governor-signs-bill-decriminalizing-marijuana-possession

Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2021, 07:58:01 pm »
Thursday, 4th February Two Thousand and Twenty One
Oregon 1st state to decriminalize possession of ALL STREET drugs
by Andrew Selsky




(SALEM, Oregon) — Police in Oregon can no longer arrest someone for possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other drugs as a ballot measure that decriminalized them took effect on Monday.

Instead, those found in possession would face a $100 fine or a health assessment that could lead to addiction counseling.

Backers of the ballot measure, which Oregon voters passed by a wide margin in November, hailed it as a revolutionary move for the United States.

“Today, the first domino of our cruel and inhumane war on drugs has fallen, setting off what we expect to be a cascade of other efforts centering health over criminalization,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which spearheaded the ballot initiative.

Ballot Measure 110’s backers said treatment needs to be the priority and that criminalizing drug possession was not working.

Besides facing the prospect of being locked up, having a criminal record makes it difficult to find housing and jobs and can haunt a person for a lifetime.

Two dozen district attorneys had opposed the measure, saying it was reckless and would lead to an increase in the acceptability of dangerous drugs.

Instead of facing arrest, those found by law enforcement with personal-use amounts of drugs would face a civil citation, “like a traffic ticket,” and not a criminal citation, said Matt Sutton, spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Under the new system, addiction recovery centers will be tasked with “triaging the acute needs of people who use drugs and assessing and addressing any on-going needs thorough intensive case management and linkage to care and services.”

The addiction recovery centers will be funded by millions of dollars of tax revenue from Oregon’s legalized marijuana industry.

That diverts some funds from other programs and entities that already receive it, like schools.

The ballot measure capped the amount of pot tax revenue that schools; mental health alcoholism and drug services; the state police; and cities and counties receive at $45 million annually, with the rest going to a “Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund.”

The fund will be awash in money if the sales trend for marijuana continues as expected.

In the 2020 fiscal year, marijuana tax revenues peaked at $133 million, a 30% increase over the previous year, and a 545% increase over 2016, when pot taxes began being collected from legal, registered recreational marijuana enterprises around the state.

The other recipients of pot tax revenues are now saying that, after assessment and related treatment options are set up, the distribution of those revenues will deserve another look.

A leading lawmaker agrees.

“In the future, as Oregon’s treatment programs reach full funding, the state should evaluate what other services would benefit from our continually growing marijuana tax revenues,” Oregon Education Association President John Larson said in an email.

Larson said a “balanced approach to budgeting” will support communities and students.

The OEA union represents about 44,000 educators.

State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, chair of the Senate Committee On Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation, said he expects Oregon’s cannabis tax revenues to increase exponentially if recreational marijuana in the United States is legalized.

He expects that to happen within four years.

That would make the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund “oversaturated with revenue” as out-of-state consumers legally buy Oregon’s potent marijuana, Prozanski said in a telephone interview.

“It would be foolish for us as a Legislature to think that the voters would want us to put hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars into a program that would be, at that point, I would think, having a gold standard” in addiction recovery services, the Democrat said.

But Sutton noted that besides traditional treatment services, the fund would also be spent on housing and job assistance to provide long-term stability for people struggling with addiction.

“I can’t imagine a situation where this fund becomes oversaturated anytime soon,” Sutton said.

Oregon is a pioneer in liberalizing drug laws.

It was the first state, in 1973, to decriminalize marijuana possession.

In 2014, Oregon voters passed a ballot measure legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

But Sutton said there are no plans to pursue legalization and a regulated market of hard drugs in Oregon.

Addiction recovery centers must be available by October 1st.

One center must be established within each existing coordinated care organization service area.

After decriminalization, about 3,700 fewer Oregonians per year will be convicted of felony or misdemeanor possession of controlled substances, according to estimates by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.

The measure will also likely lead to significant reductions in racial and ethnic disparities in convictions and arrests, the state commission said.

Drugs specified by the measure include LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone, and MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy.

While this approach is new in the United States, several countries, including Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland, have already decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs, according to the United Nations.

Portugal’s 2000 decriminalization brought no surge in drug use.

Drug deaths fell while the number of people treated for drug addiction in the country rose 20% from 2001 to 2008 and then stabilized, Portuguese officials have said.
























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https://apnews.com/article/oregon-decriminalize-drug-possession-6843f93c3d55212e0ffbdd8b93be9196

Offline Battle

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Re: Yet Another State Wants To Legalize Marijuana
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 08:23:31 pm »
Wednesday, 7th April  Twenty One
Marijuana will be legal in Virginia on July 1st
by Ned Oliver & Graham Moomaw





The General Assembly approved legislation Wednesday that will make marijuana legal on July 1st.

The votes make Virginia the 16th state to legalize the drug and the first in the South to take the step, though retail sales won’t begin until January 1st, 2024.

“The time has come for our state to legalize marijuana,” said House Majority Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, who sponsored the bill, arguing the revised legislation ensures “that while we’re doing the complicated work of standing up a commercial market, we aren’t delaying immediate reforms that will make our commonwealth more equitable for all Virginians.”

The product of months of negotiation and last-minute amendments, the final legislation is complex and, in some key areas, ambiguous about what will and won’t be allowed.

New laws, new penalties

The final legislation makes possession of up to an ounce of marijuana legal for people 21 and older beginning July 1st.

Adults caught with more than an ounce but less than a pound will face a $25 fine.

And adults caught with more than a pound can be charged with a felony punishable by between one and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

And while sales of the drug are illegal, the legislation permits gifting up to an ounce of the drug to any adult.

(The provision explicitly prohibits transactions that have become common in Washington, D.C., where companies sell legal products at high prices that are delivered with what is described as a free gift of marijuana.)

People under the age of 21 caught with the drug face a $25 fine, but would also be required to enter a substance abuse treatment and education program.

Also illegal under the legislation: consuming the drug in public or offering it to people in public, as a gift or otherwise.

First offenses are also punishable by a $25 fine, a second offense would add mandatory drug treatment and a third offense would constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor.

And possession on the grounds of a public K-12 school while it’s open would constitute a Class 2 misdemeanor.

“This is not going to generate some ganja fest at Jiffy Lube pavilion out in the parking lot, because that is smoking in public,” said Senator Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax.

“Because just like you can’t drink in public, you can’t smoke in public under this.”

Open containers and cars

In an effort to address the difficulty of pursuing driving-under-the-influence charges, which unlike alcohol can’t be proven with breath or blood tests, the legislation also creates a presumption that a person has consumed marijuana if an “open container” is found in the passenger area of a vehicle.

But the legislation defines an open container as “any vessel containing marijuana except the originally sealed manufacturer’s container.”

With retail sales delayed until 2024, what does that mean for people transporting a legal amount of marijuana in a ziplock bag or other common container?

You should probably keep it in your trunk, said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform Marijuana Laws.

“The considerations were based on retail cannabis, and that’s why you see these gaps in the code,” they said.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, agreed.

“That means marijuana in any other container other than a currently non-existent manufacturer’s container will be considered as being in an open container now and in the future,” she said.

Growing your own

Again, retail sales won’t begin until 2024, so for the next three years, the only legal way to obtain the drug will be growing your own or getting it as a gift from someone who does.

The law allows people to cultivate up to four plants per household, provided they aren’t visible from a public street and precautions are taken to prevent unauthorized access by minors—though the bill doesn’t specify what those precautions should entail.

The law requires each plant be tagged with the grower’s name, driver’s license or state identification number, and a notation that it is being grown for personal use.

People caught with more plants than legally allowed face escalating penalties, which rise from a $250 fine for between 4 and 10 plants to felony charges for more than 50 plants.

The legislation also prohibits manufacturing concentrate from home-grown marijuana.

Like the open-container rules, the home-grow provisions present some ambiguities.

First, there’s no legal way to purchase seeds or cuttings, though they could be gifted under the law.

Pedini said the state’s licensed medical growers faced a similar dilemma when their operations began last year, but noted they have nonetheless been able to obtain plants.

Second, the prospect of growing up to four plants is at odds with the possession limit of one ounce.

As Senator Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, noted, one plant could easily produce several times that amount.

“Are we not creating a criminal act by growing one plant?” he said.

The bill’s senate patron, Senator Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, said he didn’t have a good answer, but doubted many would-be cultivators would successfully grow more than an ounce.

Advocates say that while the issue merits caution among people who choose to grow marijuana, they don’t think it will be a problem in practice.

Pedini said the language limiting possession to one ounce applies only to amounts held on a someone’s person or in public.

“The legislative intent is to prohibit you from walking down the street with more than an ounce of it,” they said.

And Gastañaga said she believed the authority to grow four plants would override the possession limit.

“So, if you are growing in your home and complying with the provisions governing home grow, and you are not out in public, then I think the one ounce limit doesn’t apply to what you have in your home,” she said.

Sealing past convictions

The legislation also provides for the automatic sealing of past misdemeanor marijuana convictions and creates a petition-based process to allow people convicted of more serious charges to clear their records.

However, because those efforts will require updating state computer systems as part of a broader expungement initiative, it’s unclear when they will go into effect.

Lawmakers discussed but delayed until next year a decision about allowing people currently serving jail and prison sentences related to the drug to petition a judge to be resentenced.

Retail sales and social equity

Throughout the legislative debate, lawmakers steadfastly maintained they did not want to rush into opening the legal marketplace, setting a 2024 date they say will give them plenty of time to establish new rules and regulations.

For now, they’ve put off decisions about what those rules might look like until next year.

Outstanding questions include how licenses will be distributed and how much say local governments will have in where pot businesses locate.

They also declined to give permission to the state’s existing medical marijuana producers to begin retail sales early, worrying it would give the companies too much of a leg up when the marketplace opens.

The Democrats who carried the bills through the General Assembly have emphasized a regulatory program that will direct licenses to minority communities that faced disproportionate drug enforcement during prohibition, though again, those details will not be finalized until next year.

The final bill came close to delaying nearly all its provisions until 2024, but Governor Ralph Northam sent the measure back to the legislature to speed the legalization timeline following an outcry by activists.

Those amendments briefly appeared to be imperiled in the Senate on Wednesday amid infighting by Democrats, but ultimately passed with Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D) breaking a tie vote.

No Republicans voted for the bill.

Some had voiced support for the measure, but said they opposed pro-union language inserted by Northam, though that amendment will not become effective unless it is approved again next year.

Other gop lawmakers questioned the wisdom of abandoning the earlier version of the bill, calling Northam’s amendments a “trainwreck.”

“It’s because some activists want marijuana legalized,” said Delegate Chris Head, R-Botetourt.

“And they want it legalized now, consequences be damned.”

Democrats countered that legalization’s time had simply come.

“One of the reasons I support making it come into effect soon is if we don’t, and we have to wait another three years, I’ll be in my 80s before I can do legally what I was doing illegally in my 20s,” said Senator Janet Howell, D-Fairfax.