Northam Signs Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bills

Governor Ralph Northam signed marijuana legalization into law in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, joined by legislators and marijuana advocates. The new law is a major piece of legislation from the 2021 General Assembly session. The law has many components involving regulation of cannabis production and retail that don’t take effect immediately, but a key portion allowing simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana takes effect July 1.

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New Democratic Primary Poll Shows McAuliffe Still in the Lead

New polling data shows former Governor Terry McAuliffe in the lead with 42 percent, while his closest opponents, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) both had 8 percent support, while 29 percent of voters remain undecided.  Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manasses) came in with seven percent and four percent respectively, placing all the candidates except McAuliffe within range of each other, given the 4.3 percent margin of error. Public Policy Polling conducted the interviews of 526  likely Democratic primary voters on April 12 and 13.

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McAuliffe, Chase, and Cox Announce Significant Endorsements

Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.

“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said.

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Effective in July, Virginia Legalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

RICHMOND, Virginia Simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana will be legal in Virginia, effective July 1. On Wednesday, the Virginia General Assembly approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal to expedite legalization from 2024 to later this year. But legislators warned that doesn’t mean there will be a marijuana free-for-all.

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In Debate, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Gun Violence and the Parole Board

The five Democratic candidates for governor met for the first televised debate on Tuesday evening where they discussed issues including the economic crisis, gun violence, marijuana legalization, the Virginia Parole Board, and vaccine hesitancy. For the most part, the candidates stuck to discussing their own policies, but occasionally turned to attack perceived front-runner McAuliffe.

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Debates, Special Elections, and Hot Dog Reviews: A Virginia Gubernatorial Update

With a special election coming on Tuesday for Senate District 38, gubernatorial candidates on both side of the aisle made appearances this week campaigning for Laurie Buchwald (D) and Travis Hackworth (R). But the governor’s race this week also featured hot dog reviews, a Democratic debate, and attacks between candidates.

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Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Face off in Debate

Four of the five Democratic candidates for Governor discussed legal reform, racial justice, environmental justice, and good government in a debate hosted by The Virginia People’s Debates. Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), Jennifer Carrol Foy, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax participated; front-runner Terry McAuliffe was absent.

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Senator Amanda Chase Still Dominates Virginia Gubernatorial Conversation as Other Candidates Announce New Policy Plans, Make Campaign Stops

More gubernatorial polls this week show most voters are undecided, allowing contest leaders to continue to claim front-runner status while allowing everybody else to claim theoretical wins. But there’s more gubernatorial news than that — this week’s campaign news features new policy announcements, major endorsements, messaging controversy, and a late-night television mention.

First, the poll: 49 percent of Democratic voters and 55 percent of Republican voters are undecided, according to a Christoper Newport University/Wason Center Poll. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe leads Democrats with 26 percent, while Senator Amanda Chase leads Republicans with 17 percent.

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Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase Files Lawsuit to Remove Censure

After the Senate of Virginia voted to censure Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) last week, the lawmaker filed a lawsuit in federal court on Monday seeking to have the public rebuke expunged.

Chase filed the suit against the Senate, naming Clerk Susan Schaar as a defendant, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia over alleged violations of the First and 14th Amendments as well as the legislative body’s own rules.

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Delegate Lee Carter Officially Announces Run for Governor

Virginia State Delegate Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas) officially joined the governor’s race last Friday and is now part of the crowded Democratic field vying for the party nomination this summer.

Carter, 33, is the fifth Democrat to seek the Executive Mansion next November and had originally filed paperwork to raise money for a gubernatorial bid last month.

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Princess Blanding Announces Third-Party Run for Virginia Governor

Community activist and mental health advocate Princess Blanding, whose brother was fatally shot by Richmond Police in 2018, announced her entrance into the 2021 Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday as a third-party candidate, joining a group of hopefuls featuring former and current state politicians.

Blanding, 38, will be running as an independent candidate under the Liberation Party, whose mission to advance equity by uplifting traditionally underserved and oppressed communities, according to a press release.

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Republican State Senator Emmett Hanger Still Seriously Considering a Bid for Governor

As the 2021 elections inch closer and begin to dominate almost all political talk in the Commonwealth, Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) is still exploring a potential run to become the 74th governor of Virginia.

Hanger, 72, recently discussed the gubernatorial election and the difficulty of securing the GOP nomination in an interview with The Virginia Star. 

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Virginia’s Power Dems Line Up Behind McAuliffe

Now that the 2020 elections are over and the field for Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election has taken shape, it is the prime time for candidates to receive endorsements from former and current politicians, community leaders and other elected officials.

For some of the Democratic candidates, endorsements seem to be occurring every other day.

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Terry McAuliffe to Run for Second Term as Virginia Governor

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe officially entered Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election on Wednesday after months of educated speculation that the long-time Democrat would throw his name into the contest and seek another four years in the Executive Mansion.

McAuliffe, 63, made the announcement during a press conference in front of Miles Jerome Jones Elementary School in Richmond’s southside that was streamed live to his Facebook page.

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Senate Passes Majority of Gov. Northam’s Amendments, Concluding Lengthy Special Session

The Virginia Senate on Monday adopted a number of slight changes to legislation and the budget recommended by Governor Ralph Northam, including language for the implementation of the recently-approved redistricting commission.

Overall, including the budget, the Senate passed amendments for ten bills from the House and Senate. Most passage votes were primarily along party lines with a couple amendments garnering unanimous support.

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Justin Fairfax Says He is Poised to Help All Virginians as the Next Governor

If elected governor, Justin Fairfax is determined to bring the Commonwealth and its residents out from underneath the current issues plaguing Virginia brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic and a destructive political landscape. 

Last month Lt. Gov. Fairfax officially announced his entrance into the 2021 gubernatorial election, hoping to follow in the footsteps of former state governor L. Douglas Wilder and become the second black man elected to the Executive Mansion. 

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Judge Extends Virginia’s Voter Registration Deadline Until Midnight Thursday

A federal Judge extended Virginia’s voter registration deadline Wednesday morning after the system experienced statewide outages from a severed fiber cable on Tuesday.

The deadline for Virginians to register to vote is now Thursday at 11:59 p.m. 

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Severed Fiber Cable Causes IT Issues for Department of Elections on Last Day to Register to Vote

A severed fiber cable in Chesterfield County caused Virginia’s voter registration system and other systems used by state agencies to fail Tuesday. 

The outage came on the final day Virginians can register to vote for the upcoming November election.

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