Post Content

Legal Review: Virginia Updates Marijuana Laws

Virginia has now taken its place as the 17th state in the United States to legalize possession and home growth of marijuana.

Effective July 1, 2021, the new legislation will provide Virginians with limited opportunity to possess and grow marijuana. Initially planned for implementation in 2024 along with recreational sales, the Virginia General Assembly finalized the decision to approve these new laws three years earlier than anticipated.

Following the House, the Senate achieved a ruling when Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D) broke a tie to pass the bill as they considered Governor Northam’s bill amendments and budget.

Virginia Makes Progress

While Virginia is not the first state to legalize, it is the first state in the south. The bill does have limitations. Each household may now have up to four marijuana plants. They must be labeled concealed from the public and those under the legal age of 21 if grown indoors.

Additionally, the law will still prevent public use, including smoking in public or vehicles. There is still no plan to expedite recreational sales, which will require additional voting to regulate. Before business licenses are approved, Virginians may begin growing and possessing marijuana without facing legal ramifications.

The change was first initiated in late March when Northam suggested that we reconsider Virginia’s possession penalties due to the disproportional nature of enforcement against people of color. Removing the $25 fine for simple possession was the first step in doing so.

Political Divide

Many politicians voiced concerns for these changes, but Sen. Jeremy McPike of Prince William (D) advocated for the new law. As a precursor to recreational regulations, he identified this as “a safe, legal means for folks to produce [marijuana].”

Others, including Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), argued that “trying to rush another bill with more than 50,000 substantial changes” was the wrong way to go about modifying the drug usage laws.

Safety Concerns

Most of the concerns presented by lawmakers regarded the potential safety threats that could result from these changes. Most significantly, the regulations surrounding the penalty for marijuana usage while driving.

Northam addressed the safety precautions within his initial proposal for immediate funding for public health education campaigns and law police training. Republicans fear there is not enough time for law enforcement to make the necessary adjustments to prepare for the changes.

As Virginia originally planned to legalize simple possession and recreational sales simultaneously, the language will require more discussion, according to Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). He suggests that those with marijuana in their vehicles “keep it in their trunk” after July 1.


In addition to legalizing simple possession, the new bill will automatically expunge past marijuana misdemeanor convictions to allow for updates and progression. More serious convictions will likely be addressed through a petition process. Criminal defense attorney Karin Riley Porter suggests that Virginians “take time to understand their rights, and take caution until the process is complete.”

Northam also pushed to include new amendments which allow the Cannabis Control Authority to investigate and revoke businesses licenses for interfering with union organization, failing to pay the set wage put in place by the Department of Labor, or classifying “more than 10 percent of employees as independent contractors.”

Many Republicans were troubled by this as Sen. DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) describes it as “a back door way to appease labor unions.” Likewise, Democrats, like Sen. Chap Peterson (D-Fairfax), are not satisfied with legalization and hope for decriminalization and the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences in the future.

Recent Stories

Four Alexandria school zones have been selected for a pilot program to install speed cameras, according to a presentation prepared for a joint City Council and School Board meeting. This…

A proposed extension of the King Street Trolley has reappeared in a new DASH transit plan. The bus network’s FY 2023-2028 Transit Development Plan includes a look behind the curtain…

Last week was peak bloom for most of the cherry blossoms around the D.C. region: have you gone to see them yet? Thousands visited D.C. this past weekend and traveled…

Good Monday morning, Alexandria! ☔ Today’s weather: Possible light rain in the afternoon and evening. High of 56 and low of 44. ⛅ Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High…

Monarch Montessori School located in the heart of Del Ray is enrolling children 6 weeks to 6 years of age for our half day and full day program.

Our hours of operation are 8:00 AM  to 5:30 PM, Monday-Friday. Monarch Montessori School is open year round, with intermittent breaks.  

Children engage in self-directed, self-initiated activities under the guidance of a trained Montessori teacher. Classroom sizes range from 8-12 students. Our robust curriculum includes botany, sensorial activities, the social graces, culture, math, science, practical life, geography, music appreciation and language arts. 

You’ll get half off of the registration fee when you register and begin care with us before April 30, 2023.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Press Release:

EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.

The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.

Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Del Ray Dog Fest & Yappy Hour

The 1st Annual Del Ray Dog Fest is a fun outdoor event that will include dog-centered activities, dog menu items, live music, vendors and food on Sunday, April 2 from 11am- 3pm at the George Washington Middle School parking lot.


Subscribe to our mailing list