Marijuana

Virginia's on the Verge of Legalizing Marijuana

If passed, the bill would allow for legal possession by July 1.

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A marijuana legalization bill in Virginia has successfully made its way through vital committees in both the House and Senate as lawmakers rush to pass it before the state's mid-session deadline on Friday. 

In its current form, the bill allows for adults 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Any amount between an ounce and one pound would be punishable by a fine. Virginians would be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants, two mature and two immature, per household. The bill also "provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes."

If passed into law, the Senate bill would legalize marijuana possession by July 1, ahead of the formation of a proposed regulated market in 2023. This comes less than a year since the state passed a marijuana decriminalization law in May, which changed the penalty for simple possession from a maximum fine of $500 and a possible 30-day jail sentence to a $25 fine with no threat of jail time or a criminal record. 

During his State of the Commonwealth address on January 13, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam expressed support for marijuana legalization and cited the tax benefits that a legal cannabis market would provide to the state.

"Just half of the annual revenue could pay for two years of quality pre-K to all of Virginia's most vulnerable 3- and 4-year-olds," he said.

The bill imposes a 21 percent tax on both retail and nonretail marijuana products as well as allowing for localities to levy a further three percent tax on marijuana businesses. 

Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D), who is running for governor, was quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as supporting measures to end arrests for small amounts of marijuana before a legal market is established.

"If we've already made the moral decision that possession shouldn't be a crime, then it's more equitable to say we're not going to continue punishing people for it," she said.

Opposition to the bill centers around questions over what exactly constitutes legal use. 

"We need to make sure we have a clear understanding of when an officer can arrest you, what is needed to prosecute, what is under the influence," said State Sen. Ryan McDougle (R), who voted against the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We haven't even begun that debate." 

A recent survey conducted by Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Civic Leadership found that 68 percent of Virginia voters were in favor of marijuana legalization with only 32 percent opposing it. The poll showed that about 80 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans were in favor of legalization. 

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  1. Opposition to the bill centers around questions over what exactly constitutes legal use.

    Gee, how about asking President Biden?

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      1. America, just because it is legal, doesn't mean you should do it. Don't sit on the couch with blood shot eyes spacing out, living a life of irresponsibility, nihilistic hedonism, and impulsive pleasure, wrapped in a life of non-productivity. Life is short. You ought pursue a meaningful life. A heroic life. A responsible life. Carve out meaningful goals, put the world on your shoulders, and bear it with pride. Sitting on your couch smoking pot? That's a wasted life. A total waste. Don't waste it.

          1. I agree. Sitting on your couch, in a baked out stupor, is extremely derp. Don't waste your life with unproductive weed induced munchies and videogames. Make a meaningful goal. Pursue it with relentless fervor, and the world will give you respect.

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            2. “I agree. Sitting on your couch, in a baked out stupor, is extremely derp. Don’t waste your life with unproductive weed induced munchies and videogames. Make a meaningful goal. Pursue it with relentless fervor, and the world will give you respect.”

              Its a good sentiment and one I agree with, and I’m assuming most people particularly on this site would agree with. I’m not aware of anyone on this site, or anyone who favors legalization, disagreeing with this sentiment or being against having a productive and fulfilling life. So I’m not sure this is an issue you should be too worried about here.

              And obviously just because someone uses marijuana doesn’t mean they’ll end up wasting their life stuck on the couch playing video games and having the munchies.

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            3. I suppose you could say the same thing about alcohol.

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        1. Stereotyping is nothing other than intellectual sloth.

    2. Hunter is on it!

    3. Notice the Commies at unreason never ask to have the Controlled Substances Act declared unconstitutional. Even the Prohibitionists knew they needed a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol. Otherwise these product bans are unconstitutional.

      Democrats use an incrementalism to pacify the masses and buy votes. Just like the Commies do.

      1. The 18th Amendment (1918) was passed before the ruling in Wickard v. Filburn (1942). As long as Wickard is the controlling legal authority the CSA is perfectly Constitutional.

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  2. “If passed into law, the Senate bill would legalize marijuana possession by July 1”
    – Yes!

    “Just half of the annual revenue could pay for two years of quality pre-K to all of Virginia’s most vulnerable 3- and 4-year-olds”
    – …damn it

    Could a government body, somewhere, sometime, do just one thing that’s good for individual liberty without using it as an excuse to further expand the size and scope of government?

    1. Hah!

      When the discussion of legalizing marijuana came up in California, a very progressive friend (and occasional pot smoker) was excited by the prospect of collecting taxes from pot. I asked him about legalizing it and merely taxing it the same as tobacco or alcohol. He was aghast. “Then why legalize it?”

      As a half-White individual who could pass as all-White, he would never face in problems if caught smoking marijuana. To him it wasn’t about legalization because Whites and many Asians in California can pretty smoke pot openly with no repercussions. But not Blacks or Latinos. It never occurred to his woke mind that Blacks and Latinos might not want to go to jail for having a doobie in their pocket.

      It’s the silent racism of the Left. “Who cares about legalizing pot when I don’t get in trouble for smoking pot?” “Who cares about raising taxes when I’ve got a fancy tech sector job?” “Who cares about rent control when I own my home?” It doesn’t occur to them that their policies create the social injustice they’re fighting against.

      1. It’s frustrating, for sure. There’s a lot of folks who are willfully ignorant to the realities outside their own bubble. Then for a lot of others, everything has to be a means to some collectivist end, rather than judging an act by it’s own morality/merit.

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      2. I asked him about legalizing it and merely taxing it the same as tobacco or alcohol. He was aghast. “Then why legalize it?”

        Was he high at the time?

      3. Don’t tax you,
        Don’t tax me,
        Tax that fellow behind the tree.

        and NIMBYism are all part of the same human trait of wanting stuff for free or without consequence.

    2. I don’t even have a problem with them taxing it. All I’ve ever wanted is for cannabis to be treated just like alcohol, which is taxed extra. How about using the money to reduce sales tax for on everything else. That would be a great stimulus for the economy of the state by putting a little extra money in everyone’s pocket. It would even benefit low income people more since that is usually where they spend the most in taxes.

  3. “Virginians would be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants, two mature and two immature

    That certainly doesn’t create any kind of ambiguous gray area that law enforcement can exploit

    1. And they have to switch out the mature and immature plants on alternate Thursdays except in October when it’s alternate Wednesdays.

    2. The immature plants pull girls pigtails.

    3. I’m sure there will be definitions in the final text. I mean, not sure, but I sure hope so. There are standards in other state markets and in the hemp market for thc levels, plant maturity, etc.. Shouldn’t be difficult.

  4. That’s too close to the capital. DC is bound to find out.

    1. If a legal market actually gets set up in VA, Congressional aides are going to hear from their dealers, who are accustomed to working in the black market.

      1. What are members of congress, chopped liver?

        1. Only the highest-quality liquor, meth and cocaine for them.

    2. Cannabis possession is already legal in DC.

    3. DC will likely implement retail sales now that the Rs won’t be able to hamstring their efforts.

  5. This is a good start. The danger isn’t the drug but the war on it. After this, they will decriminalize opiates and eventually even meth. It’s taking a lot longer than I expected, but ‘progress not perfection’.

    Now they also need to reduce funding for law enforcement, otherwise they will simply figure out something new to get hysterical about and criminalize to justify their jobs. E.g. ‘social distancing noncompliance’, ‘human trafficking’ and porn.

    1. Let’s see how it goes in Oregon.

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  7. 4 plants weigh more than one ounce.
    You’re Busted!

  8. LOL Fucking L.

    The taxes will be $9000 an ounce, plus giving up your gun rights and first amendment rights.

    Panem, it’s a great place. I wouldn’t want to live there.

    1. 20% seems reasonable, compared to my state at 47% combined state cannabis and local sales tax.

  9. ‘Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam expressed support for marijuana legalization and cited the tax benefits that a legal cannabis market would provide to the state.
    “Just half of the annual revenue could pay for two years of quality pre-K to all of Virginia’s most vulnerable 3- and 4-year-olds,” he said.
    The bill imposes a 21 percent tax on both retail and nonretail marijuana products as well as allowing for localities to levy a further three percent tax on marijuana businesses. ‘

    Even in the rare instances where Dems are on the right side of an issue, they still manage to F it up.

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  10. The idea that legal pot will bring in a shitload of tax revenue seems shaky at best, since it would require a large number of regular users, like there are for booze and cigarettes, for this to work. I don’t think there are that many stoners here in Virginia, and with a 21% tax, they’ll probably just keep buying from their dealers.

    1. I’d bet there are many stoners in VA, and yes, they’ll just keep buying from their dealers.

    2. There’s no shortage of cannabis in Virginia.

    3. The state’s going to have to promote it a lot to get new, and heavy, users.

  11. I think Marijuana legalization is not the right decision. The govt should think more.

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  12. The Old Dominion’s bill, which is 280 pages long, fails the KISS test. It will not end the illicit market, but what state’s Act has done so?
    Link to the bill as it now stands https://lis.virginia.gov/000/cannabisbillsub2.pdf
    #DoesNotBindInConscience #OverGrowandShare

  13. Marijuana should be legalized in every state. It would also be removed from the schedule 1 drug list. I don’t know why so many are against it. I suppose if you get hooked on smoking pot, it could be a problem, but I don’t personally know anyone who is. Marijuana is good for the soul. I don’t smoke it all the time. But there are times when it sure feels good to stop work for the day and enjoy a nice joint and a beer. Oh lookey, it’s 10:00 PM here and I’m finally done with the last of my paperwork for today. I think I’m going to roll a big fatty and crack open a Bud, Budweiser that is.

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