Richmond City Council backs Northam’s amendments to marijuana legislation


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A resolution introduced by Councilmember Mike Jones to declare support for Gov. Ralph Northam’s amendment to expedite marijuana legalization in Virginia was passed tonight by Richmond’s City Council.

The resolution presented by Jones states that the City Council vigorously supports Northam’s amendments and urges the General Assembly to approve the legalization of possessing up to an ounce of marijuana. The resolution elaborates by stating that the legalization of marijuana would promote equity for people in Richmond and the entire state traditionally more affected by the enforcement of possession laws.

Gov. Northam is asking the state legislature to approve changes that would allow adults 21 and over to possess an ounce or less without facing a penalty and permit households to grow up to four pot plants starting on July 1, 2021.

During the meeting, Councilmember Ellen Robertson expressed that the legalization bill will support people who are incarcerated for possession and will help people seek health assistance.

All of the Richmond City Councilmembers except for Kristen Nye Larson voted in favor of the resolution. Larson abstained from voting.

Larson said she’s not opposed to the bill, but is opposed to the process. She said this resolution was expedited, stating she wasn’t aware of the special meeting until the public announcement was made.

Council President Cynthia Newbille explained the swiftness of the resolution is because the General Assembly meets on Wednesday to consider the governor’s amendments, and today was the first chance to discuss it. Mike jones also stated that the fast timeline for the resolution was also due to the General Assembly meeting this week.

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