NORFOLK, Va. - In just a few weeks, simple possession of marijuana becomes legal in Virginia. Ahead of that, advocates and state leaders are seeking to help answer questions about what people can and cannot do.
Adults 21 and older will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
"It's really a busy time for us at NORML. It's really exciting for Virginians as we approach the date, and people certainly have lot of questions," said Jenn Michelle Pedini, the development director of NORML, who also serves executive director of Virginia NORML.
"People do have a lot of questions about legalization and how they can follow the law and not get in trouble," said Pedini.
In addition to simple possession, people can smoke marijuana private places, although owners could still restrict use of marijuana on private property.
People can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their homes. Sales and purchases remain illegal until 2024 while state lawmakers develop more of the regulatory framework surrounding sales.
"This was a good faith effort and a great first step to show that it's business and justice. We'll get through the gray area and we'll get to that structure being set up," said Del. Cia Price (D-Newport News).
Just because possession will be legal doesn't mean there won't be other rules and regulations in place. For example, your employer can still require you to take a drug test and discipline or fire you if you violate company policy unless you're using it for documented medical reasons.
No one in a car, either the driver or passengers, can also be actively using marijuana.
"No one can be consuming cannabis or have an open container of cannabis in the car while it's being operated," said Pedini.
Going forward, lawmakers understand they still have work to do to develop clear regulations for sales, which will take time.
"This is the first step in a multi-year process as we work toward that 2024 deadline," said Price.