Wise County commonwealth’s attorney OK with legal pot, but concerned about rush to legalize


WISE, Va. (WJHL) — A Southwest Virginia prosecutor says he is OK with Virginia legalizing marijuana but is concerned about how soon it will become legal.

On Wednesday, the Virginia General Assembly gave final approval to a bill to legalize simple possession of marijuana and limited home growth beginning this July, three years sooner than initially planned. 

Chuck Slemp, the commonwealth’s attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton, says legalizing marijuana possession so quickly may have negative consequences.

“I support legalization with the caveat that we can tax it, we can regulate it and make sure it’s safe for the public to consume,” Slemp said. “With a rush to immediate legalization, we do just the opposite. We say ‘consequences, whatever they may be, we’re going to legalize it now.'”

Virginians will also be allowed to grow up to four pot plants per household.

The recreational sale of marijuana is expected to be allowed in 2024 pending additional approval in next year’s legislative session.

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