Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024
Virginia lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that will legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But legalization will not occur until 2024, when retail sales of the drug would also begin. (Source: Taylor Eagleston/Special for Cronkite News)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that will legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But legalization will not occur until 2024, when retail sales of the drug would also begin.

A compromise bill cleared the state House and Senate on Saturday evening.

The decision makes Virginia the first Southern state to vote to legalize marijuana. It joins 15 other states and the District of Columbia.

The legislation now goes to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who supports legalization.

The bill was a top priority for Democrats, who framed legalization as a necessary step to end the disparate treatment of people of color under current marijuana laws.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.