Southwest Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney reacts to legislators passing bills to legalize marijuana

Marijuana Generic
Marijuana Generic(Associated Press)
Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 3:32 AM EST
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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – On Friday, lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate passed bills to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth, making it the first state in the South to do so.

The House and Senate bills did not completely coincide and those differences will have to be ironed out before the bill can head to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s office for his signature.

Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp told CBS affiliate WJHL that the proposed legislation will need to address law enforcement better.

“I wish that those that are passing this through won’t rush to pass it and leave out all the unintended consequences,” he said.

Slemp said legalization was not the issue, but he rather had concerns with the legislation.

“I think a lot of us want to see a system put in place where there there is regulation for, for consumption, we know that legalization is coming. So, and that’s part of my calculus of supporting this is that we know it’s coming. So I want to put in place these public safety protections to make sure that those who are consuming marijuana will do so safely and the rest of us who are driving down the road, aren’t harmed, and that our children. Don’t think that it’s okay to go out there and do drugs,” he explained.

Both bills from the Senate and House have an effective date for retail sales to start in 2024.