LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Many Virginians have mixed opinions following Governor Northam's announcement on Monday on a move to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth.
If the bill is passed, it would allow recreational marijuana for adults.
However, not all Virginians are on board with the potential legalization.
"It basically messes with your mind and so like doing that, you're not really in your full mindset to do any sort of activity," David Hopkins, a student in the area, said.
Hopkins said that he personally doesn't use marijuana, but he knows people who do.
"They think oh, just to relax, or focus," Hopkins said. "I'm just going to use this recreational drug when there's not very much safety behind it."
Noah Harman, on the other hand, is in favor of legalization, saying that it is not as harmful as some other things on the market.
"I think it's better than the two drugs we currently have legalized," Harman said. "In terms of tissue dependence of alcohol and the overly addictive chemicals inside cigarettes."
He said that he wants the market to remain focused on the benefits of marijuana, specifically CBD oil, versus seeing a switch to just the marijuana that gets you high.
"I'd love to see good come from it and hopefully deter people from the other two," Harman said.
Northam said that the new legislation would need to address social and racial equality, public health and protections for youth before he'll sign it into law.
State Senator Mark Peake said that the simple possession of marijuana just got decriminalized on July 1, demoting the charge to a civil infraction. He said that Monday's announcement by Northam is a quick step to legislation without a lot of studies.
"We're going to have gambling and drugs and oh, look at all the tax revenue we're getting in by doing immoral things," Peake said. "We're losing our moral compass as a Commonwealth."
On the flip side, Delegate Christ Hurst said that the legalization of marijuana is long overdue due to its longstanding negative impact on Virginians who are minorities or of low income.
Northam said that he's working with lawmakers to finalize a proposed bill ahead of the 2021 session of the General Assembly, which convenes in January.