Marijuana advocates gather in Richmond to celebrate legalization in Virginia

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 11:25 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thursday marked a historic day in the Commonwealth, one that marijuana advocates have been waiting on for years. That’s why they celebrated legalization with a “420” party in Richmond. It happened on the day recreational use of marijuana became legal, but those advocates are now pushing for full legalization when state lawmakers get back to session.

“It’s joyful obviously. We all feel a heavyweight being lifted,” said Nitch Narduzzi, who traveled from Staunton to be in Richmond.

Three Notch’d Brewery and Virginia Norml collaborated to celebrate the first day of recreational use of marijuana being legal in Virginia, the first southern state to do so. Advocates wanted to meet with supporters to explain what that means.

“While adults 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public, they can’t consume it in public; and while they can share it with other adults 21 and over in private, they can’t share it in public,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini of Virginia Norml.

They’re taking it step-by-step and are just glad to see this major change for the Commonwealth.

“It’s about liberties. It’s also about social justice issues,” Narduzzi added.

Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam agreed. “Black Virginians and White Virginians use marijuana at the same rate, but Black Virginians are three times more likely to be arrested and convicted and this is what was so important to me, the incentive to legalize marijuana this year and not wait until 2024 because lives are being ruined in a disparate fashion,” he said.

Even Richmond Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch stopped by to show her support.

“Being here to celebrate with friends and advocates who have been in the fight for a long time…I never thought this would become a reality,” Lynch said.

“I’m just super excited to be celebrating this day with other like-minded people who understand the benefits for Virginia for making this happen…What it means for me is my right to choose how I want to engage with my community,” Narduzzi added.

As of July 1, those 21 and older can grow up to four plants and smoke marijuana in their homes and there won’t be penalties for those caught possessing less than an ounce.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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