Virginia had become the first southern US state to approve the use of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The state Senate and House of Delegates voted to allow adults to possess marijuana as of July 1, in a measure approved despite fierce opposition by Republican lawmakers.
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam in a statement said his state had “made history as the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of marijuana.” “Marijuana laws were explicitly designed to target communities of color, and Black Virginians are disproportionately likely to be stopped, charged, and convicted,” he said. “Today, Virginia took a critical step to right these wrongs and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over-criminalization.”
Several other US states, including New York and Colorado, have approved similar measures, but Virginia is the first to do so in the socially and politically conservative US south.