Virginia Gov. Northam signs marijuana legalization bill, legal possession starts July 1

"We are the first state in the south to move forward with legalizing marijuana," the Democratic governor said.
(Thomas De Cian/NurPhoto via Getty Images))

Virginia residents starting this summer will be able to legally possess marijuana, following Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam signing the bill into law.

"As of July first, 2021, who’s counting but 71 days from now, Virginia will no longer police adults for possessing small amounts of marijuana," Northam said Wednesday upon signing the bill into law, according to The Virginia Star. "What this really means is that people will no longer be arrested or face penalties for simple possession that follow them and affect their lives."

Virginia becomes the first southern state to enact a marijuana legalization bill.

The bill passed by the Virginia Assembly earlier in the month allows Virginian residents 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.

Virginian residents will also be able to up to four cannabis plants so long as they are properly registered and documented with the resident's name, driver's license, and a note indicating the purpose of the plant. However, plant cannot be in public view, according to CNN.

Virginian Republicans opposed the bill, with none voting in favor of its passage.