In #Virginia, lawmakers approve measures legalizing the personal use, possession, and #cultivation of marijuana beginning #July 1st, with retail sales slated to launch in 2024. The amendment to speed up the timeline of a #recreational legalization bill passed by legislators in #February cleared both chambers, after being proposed by #Democrat governor Ralph Northam. The revision allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an #ounce of #cannabis and grow as many as 4 plants starting this July, instead of with the state’s market launch in three years, as originally planned. The comprehensive legislation also includes social #equity provisions, establishes five different categories of business licenses, and requires local municipalities to proactively #permit #business activities. Another change suggested by Northam will expedite automatic record expungements for those with past #marijuana-related convictions. Though many advocates are applauding the revisions, some, like #NORML director Jenn Michelle Pedini, are pushing for sales to begin sooner from the state’s existing MMJ #dispensaries, arguing the delay will exacerbate the illicit market. Industry experts predict Virginia’s adult-use cannabis program could be worth as much as 1.4 #billion #dollars by its fifth year of operation.
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