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Gov. Northam signs bill legalizing marijuana in Virginia

Virginia will become the first southern state to legalize marijuana. But it will be years before legal retail sales will be available in the Commonwealth.

RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill on Wedneday that legalizes marijuana in Virginia starting this summer. 

Earlier this month, lawmakers approved Northam’s proposed changes to a bill to allow adults in Virginia to possess and cultivate small amounts starting in July. That move accelerated the timeline of legalization by about three years. 

But it will be years before legal retail sales will be available in the Commonwealth. The legislation created a new state agency that will oversee the marijuana marketplace, with sales beginning in 2024.

Associated Press contributed to this report.