By Don Rippert
Warm up the bongs. Adults in Virginia will be able to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use starting July 1. The bill originally passed by the General Assembly would have delayed that date until July 1, 2024. However, Governor Ralph Northam amended the bill and, after some haggling, the General Assembly accepted the amended bill. Unsurprisingly, the bill that ultimately passed got more than a little frayed in the back and forth between the General Assembly and the Governor.
Spontaneous generation. The biggest quirk of Virginia’s new marijuana law is that it will be legal to possess marijuana this summer but not legal to buy pot for another three years. So … where will the marijuana come from? The Virginia law envisions adults “gifting” each other up to an ounce of marijuana. So … where will the “gifted” marijuana come from? The law allows Virginians to grow up to four plants. So … where will the marijuana seeds come from? Isn’t buying seeds a form of buying marijuana? In reality, the law that passed has more than a little bit of “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” in it. Virginians will buy marijuana from whomever is selling it now in the Old Dominion. The transaction is illegal but as soon as you get a few steps away from the pusher man you’re in the clear. One can imagine the conversation between police and someone with a bag of marijuana. “Where did you get that marijuana?” “I found it.”
Weights and measures. The other kink in the law is the dichotomy between legally possessing an ounce of marijuana and legally growing up to four plants. Four plants will yield a lot more than an ounce. In the interests of journalism I have researched this matter.