Virginia is set to legalize marijuana in 2024, according to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Virginia’s medical cannabis program has been operational since 2016, but the law does not allow for recreational use of the drug until January 1st, 2024. Legalization would make Virginia one of nine states that have legalized marijuana on a recreational basis and 30 states with some sort of legal, medical cannabis program. Virginia would join Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, and California as states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. The legislation legalizing possession of up to half an ounce of cannabis and replacing jail sentences for repeat offenders with fines is expected to go before the General Assembly in January or February 2020. Virginia Senate Republican Majority Leader Tommy Norment said he would not block the bill from being debated. Virginia is expected to become the tenth state in America, following Massachusetts and Vermont, to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
The Virginia General Assembly has tried to Legalize Weed In Virginia several times over the past few years without success because they have not been able to obtain the necessary votes. Governor Northam said that he is confident Virginia will have a recreational cannabis program by 2024 because of his new position as governor and “the Assembly changing.” In addition, the Virginia General Assembly has already passed legislation that would decriminalize marijuana possession and allow for medical use of cannabis oil in cases where a doctor recommends it as treatment.
Benefits of Marijuana Legalization
Marijuana legalization has many benefits for society as well as disadvantages when it comes to health and safety risks. Advocates argue that legalizing weed will reduce crime rates because people won’t need to steal from others or commit other crimes in order to get money for their habit; it will also create new jobs related to production and sales; and it will generate tax revenues, which could contribute to Virginia’s underfunded public schools.
The benefits of marijuana legalization are not only for society but also include the health and safety risks. Advocates argue that legalizing weed will reduce crime rates because people won’t need to steal from others or commit other crimes in order to get money for their habit; it will also create new jobs related to production and sales. It will generate revenue through taxes, which could fund education initiatives like teacher pay raises and school construction projects. Virginia will be able to take advantage of its position as a leader in the region, and it could generate economic activity for Virginia that would create jobs.
Still, Virginia will Legalize Marijuana By 2024 when it’s likely that all citizens will be able to buy and smoke weed without any penalties or fines because Virginia is one of many states where public opinion is changing.
Disadvantages of Marijuana Legalization
Opponents of legalizing marijuana worry about the health risks for people who use regular weed or those who are addicted because they say that cannabis is addictive. They’re concerned with possible increased use of marijuana by minors, which could lead them to more serious drug addiction. They also worry about the potential for an increased number of impaired drivers on Virginia roads.
Virginia law enforcement is not in favor of legalizing marijuana because they claim it will result in more drivers intoxicated on the drug on Virginia roads. It may also increase teen usage rates since teens are most likely to get their hands on pot. Virginia law enforcement also argues that legalization will result in more crime and violence.
The legalization of marijuana costs taxpayers money to fund addiction treatment centers, police departments, and prison systems. Some fear the cost may be too high for Virginia’s budget because legalizing weed is new territory for Virginia officials who have never dealt with such a large system before.
Although Virginia residents voted to legalize marijuana for medical use in the Virginia constitution, most Virginia law enforcement officials were against it. The Virginia State Crime Commission said that legalizing pot would not solve any of Virginia’s ills because there is no proof that legal weed will actually reduce opioid addiction rates. They also claim that legalization may have negative effects on people.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 64% of Virginiana support legalizing marijuana, with 29% opposed it. Not everyone is excited about Virginia’s proposed legalization, though: The American Medical Association still opposes cannabis use due to potential health risks. According to research cited by Dr. David Bearman, the proposed legislation could help curb opioid addiction rates across Virginia due to its pain-relieving properties. And proponents of the Virginia marijuana legislation say it will help alleviate Virginia’s opioid epidemic by providing an alternative pain-relief medication for patients.
The health benefits are not only limited to Virginia, as legalizing marijuana in Virginia would also have positive effects on nearby states where weed is illegal due to cross-border topic into Virginia. Virginia’s legislation would also positively impact the state budget, as Virginia has one of the highest rates of marijuana-related arrests in the country, and legalizing pot could bring millions of more dollars into Virginia coffers through taxes collected.
And on the other hand, the disadvantages are not only limited to Virginia’s borders. Legalizing marijuana will allow people who live nearby Virginia (Pennsylvania) or any other state where weed is illegal easy access across the Virginia border. Virginia will have to be careful not to lose its advantage in the tourism industry.