The legislature of Virginia voted in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state. They plan to begin its sale by the year 2024. Back in 2015, the state attempted to remove the criminal penalties for those who possessed a small amount of marijuana but failed. After 5 years, they started working again towards its legislation by introducing HB 972, reducing the penalties for simple marijuana possession.
Before HB 972 was passed, a fine of $500 and up to 30-days of jail time was imposed on the violators. HB 972 was then followed by SB 2 that decriminalized marijuana possession. With SB 2, the records of the people who have been convicted can be expunged.
It was in 2020 when the Legislative Working Group for marijuana legalization was formed. The group consists of law enforcement officials, community leaders, policy experts, cabinet members of the Governor, and public health professionals. The group was tasked to examine the possible effects of marijuana legalization.
The group found out that the state could earn revenue of $30-60 million with a legalized and regulated marketplace during the first year. An increase to $154-300 million was also predicted after 5 years. The increase in the revenue will also result in more job opportunities for its citizens.