RICHMOND, Va. — An organization plans to celebrate the first day of cannabis legalization in Virginia by giving out 10,000 free seeds to residents across the state.
Under the new Virginia cannabis law, a person can possess an ounce of cannabis and grow four plants at home. So, Virginia Marijuana Justice (VAMJ) in collaboration with District of Columbia Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) and Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ) have all set a goal to receive donations of cannabis seeds from local growers to give them away so residents can grow their own plants.
VAMJ is calling this event "The Great Commonwealth Cannabis Seed Share." To sign up for the event or volunteer, click here. Residents will be able to pick up free seeds on July 1 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Supporters of the change in law were seen on Wednesday night into Thursday morning giving away plants and seeds for people in Virginia to begin growing. Adam Eidinger with the Virginia Marijuana Justice Group said there’s still time to plant this season.
“If you grow out in the sun, you can still plant right now. This is like the last week of the year where you can plant outdoor in Virginia. So we were just in time getting people's the seeds hopefully they'll start growing,” Eidinger said.
They’ll be giving away six seeds per person. Michael Krawitz is one of their volunteers.
“Because of the way the Virginia law is written, we have to do that in a private space. What we're trying to do is just give people the opportunity if they want to grow their own in their own house, on their own property, away from prying eyes, the way it's designed in the law, they have to have the seed to put in the ground, so we're trying to provide that,” Krawitz said.
Here's where Virginia Marijuana Justice will be meeting:
- CBD Store-Richmond (3442 Lauderdale Drive, Henrico, VA);
- Near Rosslyn Metro (1850 N. Moore St., Arlington)
- A private property in Charlottesville
This initiative was actually started by DCMJ in the District of Columbia after cannabis became legal in 2015.
Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana as lawmakers voted to approve Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to the bill. Democrats said the bill was a matter of urgency, a necessary step to end what state figures show is disparate treatment of people of color under current marijuana laws.
Nearly one year after Virginia decriminalized cannabis, marijuana-related arrests have dropped by around 50%, according to the commonwealth's 2020 crime report.
The data indicates that there were a total of 13,674 cannabis-related arrests in 2020 compared to 26,470 in 2019. Similarly, the proportion of marijuana-related arrests compared to overall drug arrests decreased from 57% in 2019 to just 46% in 2020.
It will be years before legal retail sales follow legalized possession. The bill lays out the complex process of creating a new state agency to oversee the marijuana marketplace, with sales beginning and regulations taking effect on Jan. 1, 2024.