Virginia becomes first Southern state to legalize marijuana

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia has become the first Southern state to legalize marijuana.

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to approve Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to a bill to allow adults in Virginia to possess and cultivate small amounts starting in July. Northam sent the bill back to lawmakers substantially changed from the version they sent him in February. The amendments lawmakers agreed to Wednesday would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years. It will be years before legal retail sales follow legalized possession.

The legislation lays out a complex process of creating a new state agency to oversee the marijuana marketplace, with sales beginning in 2024.

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