A big change is coming to Virginia, where lawmakers are poised to legalize marijuana, possibly as early as 2024.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharry:

…adults 21 and older could purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to four plants. The legislation would also create a regulatory scheme for the commercial cultivation and retail sale of cannabis.

A newly created independent agency would have rulemaking authority and would be responsible for issuing licenses.

On Friday, HB2312 passed by a 55-42 vote, and SB1406 passed 23-15. The two chambers will next have to reconcile differences in the bills and pass a final version to send to Gov. Ralph Northam.

The legislation also includes expungement provisions. People with prior marijuana convictions would have their records automatically expunged. Individuals currently serving sentences for cannabis-related offenses would have a process to petition for a resentencing hearing.

Once the differences between the bills are fixed, Gov. Northam is very likely to sign the bill. In doing so, Virginia will become the first state in the South to legalize marijuana for adult use.

The federal prohibition against marijuana remains in place. But with the growing number of states legalizing, or decriminalizing, the substance grows, the federal ban becomes increasingly moot.

Federalism is on its way to ending the cruel and costly drug war.  That is good news, indeed.

Image Credit: By Chmee2 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons