By Alan Suderman & Sarah Rankin, Associated Press
(AP) — Virginia lawmakers are set to start this year’s legislative session focused on COVID-19 relief efforts and legalizing marijuana.
Governor Ralph Northam is pushing to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Virginia, which could be the first Southern state to do so. Northam announced his support for legalization in November, saying he wants a responsible approach that promotes racial equity and preserves youth safety.
It’s unclear if there are enough votes for a marijuana legalization measure to pass, but lawmakers in both parties have been more open to marijuana issues, and the state decriminalized the drug last year.
Northam’s push comes as marijuana becomes more broadly accepted throughout the United States.
AP Photo Steve Helber