Great work by everybody who helped make this day a reality, including of course those who helped elect *Democrats* to the governorship, as well to majorities in the State Senate and House of Delegates! As Sen. Adam Ebbin put it on April 7, “The passage of SB1406 caps off years of struggle to reform our broken and outdated marijuana laws and begins the deliberate steps to repeal the harms of the failed prohibition.” And as House Majority Leader Charniele Herring explained, “It is a huge day for equity in the Commonwealth. Virginia is now the first state in the South to legalize recreational marijuana use, and I am so proud to have been able to carry this monumental legislation.” Great stuff…and of course, with essentially zero Republican support. Keep that in mind when you vote this November.
Northam calls this a milestone for Virginia, the first state in the South to legalize marijuana. “This is yet another example of Democrats – yes, Democrats! – listening to Virginia and taking action on the will of the people, from expanding healthcare to over 500k people, to commonsense gun legislation, criminal justice and police reform, ending the death penalty in Virginia, fairer voting laws, moving forward clean energy, giving our teachers and state employees a much-deserved raise, and now legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Virginia. On these and many other initiatives, Democrats have delivered.”
Northam: “I am proud that Virginia chose to study and learn from other states.”
President Pro Tem Louise Lucas: Says she is “immensely proud” of this legislation, points out that Black Virginians are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana despite using at similar rates as whites. “This has been a long time coming, but we’re finally getting there.”
Sen. Adam Ebbin: Thanks Gov. Northam for his leadership, LG Fairfax for casting the tiebreaking vote, Sen. Jeremy McPike, Sen. Louise Lucas, Del. Charniele Herring, etc. Says cannabis can be used responsibly, with revenue reinvested in communities. This will help repair a broken and outdated policy. The goal is a safe, equitable adult-use market which will generate wealth for those communities most adversely affected by prohibition.
Del. Charniele Herring: Says the bill is about racial equity and economic opportunity. Marijuana laws have been applied disproportionately against minority and poor communities. Will reinvest in communities harmed by prohibition. Says this bill is a significant step, but only one element in ending institutionalized racism. We’ve accomplished many things, but our work still continues.
Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn: Thanks legislators, Gov. Northam, “countless activists.” Will make the justice system fairer for every single Virginian. This has been a moment for us to look in the mirror and ask, what can we do to confront and end systemic racism in this country? The time for us to act is now. We could not delay taking this step. There’s still work to do, but by signing this into law, we can celebrate a large, clear, historic step forward.