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Advocates promote social equity in Virginia marijuana bills

Both bills also would begin the process of automatically expunging misdemeanor marijuana-related offenses from criminal records on July 1.

RICHMOND, Va. — Supporters of legislation to legalize marijuana in Virginia say one of its main goals is to make reparations to people of color and communities harmed by a disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws. 

Separate bills passed by the House and Senate last week both contain “social equity” provisions. They include a program to give those harmed preference for licenses to get into the marijuana marketplace as cultivators, wholesalers, processors, and retailers. 

Both bills also would begin the process of automatically expunging misdemeanor marijuana-related offenses from criminal records on July 1.

They also call for dedicating 30% of marijuana tax revenue to a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund for scholarships, workforce development services, and loans for qualified cannabis businesses.