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Recreational cannabis bills breeze through House

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Brett Levin / Flickr / Creative Commons
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The House of Delegates approved by wide margins Friday a state Constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for anyone over 21 and a bill that spells out the details.

Although the votes were mostly along party lines, one Democrat said the details weren’t quite enough.

Del. Gabriel Acevero, of Montgomery County, said he supports legalization, but it also is important “that we repair the harm that was done to the communities that have been disproportionately impacted.”

“And unfortunately, that bill does not do that,” he said. “I've made it clear, I will not support it if we do not address the equity piece of this.”

Del Luke Clippinger, the bills’ sponsor, said the House was beginning the process of legalizing cannabis and would work out more details in next year’s session.

“But taking the important first steps now in the areas of public safety and public health, to make sure that we do this, that we do it right,” he said. “And we do it through a lens of equity.”

A Senate committee has scheduled a hearing next week on its much more complicated bill. Then, lawmakers will begin the complicated process of reconciling the different versions.

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