Legalization advocates are optimistic about Virginia's prospects in 2021, but there is no doubt that much work remains to show that Commonwealth voters are also ready to take that step. Republican Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has the support of the sitting governor in the polls.
The new bill comes after members of the Virginia House of Representatives have proposed legalization in the past, but now we have a bill to make it a reality.
Although these efforts have been fruitless, there are good reasons to believe that this time will be different. The most obvious reason, of course, is the profound shift toward the legalization of marijuana in the United States, which has brought an end to prohibition in both blue and red states. 2019 the University of Mary Washington poll found 61 percent of Commonwealth adults support legalizing marijuana, and polls have shown similarly strong support for legalization in Virginia.
Emboldened by this relaxed public stance, prominent Democratic lawmakers in Virginia have also spoken out in favor of legalization in recent years. In 2019, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he supported the end of Prohibition, citing the University of Mary Washington poll as an example of the steps Virginia has taken. The Virginians know we can do more than that, "said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Wash. Va.
Late last year, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced his intention to introduce his own law legalizing marijuana. “It's time to move toward legal, regulated adult-use”, Herring said at the time.