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Possession of marijuana legal in Virginia starting in July

Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana Wednesday, as lawmakers voted to approve Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to a bill that will allow adults to possess and cultivate small amounts of the drug starting in July.

Northam sent the bill back to lawmakers substantially changed from the version that squeaked out of the General Assembly in February.

The amendments lawmakers agreed to Wednesday would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years, well before retail sales would begin, a move that’s been cheered by racial justice advocates.