Virginia becomes first Southern state to legalize marijuana

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly has voted to accept Gov. Ralph Northam's proposed changes to a marijuana legalization bill that will allow limited possession and cultivation of the drug beginning in July.

With Wednesday's vote, Virginia becomes the first Southern state to legalize marijuana.

Northam sent the bill back to lawmakers substantially changed from the version they sent him February.

The amendments lawmakers agreed to Wednesday would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years, a move that's been cheered by racial justice advocates.

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