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Virginia Lawmakers Fail to Decriminalize and Legalize Marijuana

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Measures to decriminalize and legalize marijuana possession in Virginia failed in the General Assembly. HB 2371 was introduced by Senator Stephen Heretick. Senator Heretick has advocated for marijuana law reform since 2016.

The bill would have legalized marijuana for adults in the state, according to WSET 13 News. Passage of the bill would have required the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to award cultivation and retail distribution licenses. Hope is not lost though; Senator Heretick has said that he will continue to fight.

The Senator said, “It’s a sad day for Virginia. This is just the beginning of the fight. I have heard from thousands of Virginians this week who have flooded my office with calls, emails, visits, and social media posts, sharing their personal stories.”

Heretick said directly, that, “I will continue to fight for Virginians of all walks of life, from all political backgrounds, who believe as I do, that marijuana prohibition has been a failure. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support and for standing with me.”

Additionally, legislation introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin also failed, that would have decriminalized marijuana possession. With local police and prosecutors opposing decriminalization, it could have played a role in the discussion.

Medical marijuana dispensaries, however, are expected to be open sometime this year.