There are plenty of reasons for legalization advocates to feel confident about the outlook for 2021 in Virginia. They have support from the sitting governor, and polls showing that voters in the commonwealth are ready to take the step, too.
Now, they have legislation to make it a reality. The new bill comes via Democrat Steve Heretick, a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates who has put up legalization proposals in the past. While those previous efforts have all fizzled out, there is good reason to believe that this time will be different.
The most obvious reason, of course, is the dramatic shift in public opinion toward marijuana legalization in the United States—a sea change that has brought an end to prohibition in both blue and red states, alike. Polls show that there is similarly robust support for legalization in Virginia. A 2019 survey from the University of Mary Washington found 61 percent of adults in the commonwealth are in favor of marijuana legalization.
Emboldened by those relaxed public attitudes, prominent Democratic Virginia lawmakers have likewise embraced legalization in recent years. In 2019, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he supports bringing an end to prohibition; in his announcement, Herring