Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Passes Both House of Delegates, Senate

February 16, 2021

RICHMOND, Va.: Today, the Virginia Senate passed HB 2312 (Herring, D – Alexandria) and the House of Delegates passed SB 1406 (Ebbin, D – Alexandria, and Lucas, D – Portsmouth), legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis.

Senator Louise Lucas said: “The Virginia General Assembly took a historic step today in righting the wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs. For decades, Black and Brown people have been over-policed and over-incarcerated for minor drug offenses. The passage of these two bills not only legalizes adult-use cannabis but intentionally sets out to create social equity in the new industry, as well as providing aid to those who have been affected by such an arrest. I’m proud to have been a patron of this legislation and to be a part of making this happen for so many Virginians today.”

Senator Adam Ebbin said: “Our Commonwealth’s prohibition on cannabis has clearly failed, and the war on marijuana has disproportionately targeted and impacted Black and Brown Virginians. Hundreds of thousands have been branded criminals and disadvantaged in a myriad of ways because of this failure. That’s why we took the critical step to decriminalize possession of cannabis last year, and why I am glad that today marijuana legalization has passed both chambers. 

“While we still have a great deal to reconcile between the House and Senate versions, the end result will be a forward thinking, deliberative approach to repealing the prohibition, creating a regulated, equitable adult-use market, and beginning the formidable task of repairing the harms of prohibition.”

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “With passage of these bills, our DYNAMIC Senate Democrats are setting an example for other states to follow. With legalization, we are taking steps to reverse the consequences of unjust, failed policies. We will continue to work together to come to a final solution that satisfies our ideals of equity and fairness while instituting a new industry for the Commonwealth.”