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Virginia legislators to move up marijuana legalization to summer

Marijuana dispensaries would still open in 2024, according to reports.

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marijuana FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2013 file photo, farmer Breezy shows off the distinctive leaves of a marijuana plant during a tour of his plantation in Jamaica's central mountain town of Nine Mile. While the island has a regulated medical marijuana industry and decriminalized small amounts of weed in 2015, it is running low on the illegal market, due to heavy heavy rains followed by extended drought, an increase in consumption and a drop in the number of traditional marijuana farmers. (AP Photo/David McFadden, File)

Marijuana possession may be legal as soon as this summer as Virginia lawmakers voted Wednesday to change the state’s bill to legalize the drug.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill in February that legalizes the sale and recreational use of marijuana, but it wouldn’t have gone into effect until 2024, according to NBC News.

Wanting to address the over-policing of Black Virginia residents who were charged with possession of marijuana, Northam urged legislators to move up the timeline of legalization.

RELATED: Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

“Today, Virginia can make history as the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of marijuana—and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over criminalization,” Northam tweeted Wednesday. “I urge the General Assembly to adopt my amendments and make this happen.”

According to NBC News, marijuana dispensaries would still open in 2024, but possession of weed would be legal as soon as July.

RELATED: Advocates promote social equity in Virginia marijuana bills