McClellan Statement on Passage of Marijuana Legalization Bill


McClellan Introduced Initial Amendment to Repeal Prohibition by July 1, 2021

RICHMOND — Today, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) released the following statement in response to the marijuana legalization bill passed through the General Assembly’s veto session, which incorporates Governor Ralph Northam’s amendments and Sen. McClellan’s recommendations to repeal the prohibition on the simple possession of marijuana starting July 1, 2021. 

“Today, we’ve taken a huge step towards redressing the disparate enforcement of marijuana laws across the Commonwealth that have targeted and punished Black and Brown communities for generations,” Sen. McClellan said. “During session, I introduced the amendment to repeal the prohibition on the simple possession of marijuana this July because postponing legalization until 2024 would have only prolonged the unjust enforcement Black and Brown communities endure. I am pleased that Gov. Northam and my colleagues in the General Assembly adopted this amendment in the final legislation.

“As our Commonwealth begins the process of legalization and commercialization, we must continue to put social justice and equity at the forefront. Our work is not done yet.”

Sen. McClellan has been a vocal leader in the fight to equitably legalize the simple possession of marijuana. McClellan led passage of a 2020 resolution to make recommendations for how Virginia should legalize and regulate the growth, sale, and possession of marijuana. JLARC’s study detailed prior disproportionality in Virginia’s marijuana enforcement and paved the way for action on equitable legalization. In 2021, McClellan introduced an amendment to the Senate marijuana bill to move the legalization of the possession of recreational marijuana up from 2024 to 2021. 

McClellan has advocated for marijuana legislation to ensure that communities impacted by past disproportionality in marijuana enforcement have an equitable opportunity to benefit from the new commercial market.