Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a new law to legalize marijuana in the state on Wednesday, according to Fox Business.
The new law will go into effect on July 1st, making Virginia the 17th state and first in the South to legalize cannabis for adult use.
Northam later tweeted, “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,” he said, as he also attached a photo of him signing the bill.
Northam had sent a prior version of the bill back to state lawmakers that included moving up the date it would go into effect by three years.
At a Wednesday news conference, the governor claimed that Black Virginians are three times as likely as white Virginians to be arrested on low-level marijuana charges, despite the fact that usage is approximately equal between each race.
There are still rules and regulations with this law. Anybody who is 21 or older is able to possess an ounce of the drug and residents are allowed to grow up to four plants, but smoking marijuana in public or driving under the influence will remain crimes. Also selling the drug should not become legal until 2024.
Republicans, however, were polarized by the new bill and Republican delegate Chris Head called the timeline a “train wreck” and claimed that the lawmakers were caving to activists.
All the people have to do now is sit back and wait for what is to come.