File photo of a Marijuana plant. Photograph:( Reuters )
The decision has been taken after citing reports that Black residents were more than three times likely to be arrested for possessing the drug but in small amounts
Virginia has become the first state in the south of the US to start the process of legalising marijuana’s recreational use.
The state’s Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that will be legalising the simple possession of marijuana. To make sure the state is able to tackle racial problems in the prosecution of marijuana-related crimes, the Governor has decided to fast-track the timeline pass the legislation, instead of waiting till 2024.
“Seventy-one days from now, Virginia will no longer police adults possessing small amounts of marijuana,” the Governor said on the ceremonial signing of the bill.
The decision has been taken after citing reports that Black residents were more than three times likely to be arrested for possessing the drug but in small amounts.
“We are moving forward in a way that promotes equity, provides a clean slate to those with prior convictions, and reinvests in the communities harmed by over-criminalization,” the Governor tweeted.
This has also come as the state celebrated an informal holiday on April 20 in relation to the 4/20 concept.
The legislation will be allowing anyone above the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. People in the state can cultivate up to four cannabis plants per home for personal use.
(With inputs from agencies)