RICHMOND, Va. – Virginians are getting a better look at what a marijuana decriminalization bill could look like in the Commonwealth.
On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam’s office released the administration’s report on the impact of legalization in the state.
The Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group held 15 public meetings between July and October. The impact report released Monday is a culmination of the group’s monthslong work.
In a statement, Northam said the report “lays out a path forward” to “make sure that our Commonwealth legalizes marijuana the right way.”
The nearly 400-page report outlines taxation, banking, criminal justice, licensing and regulation, and consumer safety as it relates to marijuana legalization in Virginia.
The report also includes what Northam’s office refers to as the “five key principles” Northam would like to see in a final legalization bill.
Here’s a look at those principles:
- Social equity, racial equity, and economic equity. The legislation should, according to Northam, address how marijuana criminalization laws have “disproportionately harmed minority communities.” According to Northam, the legislation should include initiatives such as social equity license programs, access to capital, community reinvestment and sealing or expunging records of past marijuana-related convictions.
- Public health. The legislation should, according to Northam, include substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities.
- Protections for young people. The legislation should, according to Northam, include several protections for Virginia’s youth, including age limits, mandatory ID checks and education campaigns.
- Upholding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act. The legislation should, according to Northam, be aligned with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, which prohibits indoor tobacco use.
- Data collection. The legislation should, according to Northam, ensure Virginia collects appropriate and ongoing information on safety, health, and equity.