Customer Antoine Conners, right, wears a mask while being helped by budtender Chris Gomez at The Mission Cannabis Club dispensary in San Francisco, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jonathan Beaver of San Francisco holds a marijuana cigarette at the San Francisco Patients Cooperative, a medical cannabis cooperative, November 29, 2004 in San Francisco, California.
Our reading list for March begins with Senate Bill 1406, the 264-page bill that the General Assembly just passed that will legalize marijuana in 2024. It’s not the most riveting prose we’ve ever read, but it is fascinating in its own peculiar way. Whether you favor legalization or oppose it, the odds are that Virginians don’t fully comprehend what the legislature has set in motion.
On Tuesday, we wrote about three aspects of the bill, which might get even longer if Gov. Ralph Northam proposes amendments, as many think he will. First, the “social equity” provision is intended to give an advantage to Black applicants for licenses to operate marijuana-related businesses — compensation for how over the years Black Virginians have been arrested at higher rates than whites for misdemeanor marijuana offenses. However, given the criteria that will be considered, it seems that provision will also benefit a lot of white applicants from Southwest Virginia — an indication of