The Virginia General Assembly voted Wednesday to legalize cannabis possession and home cultivation of plants up to certain limited levels for adults 21 and over. The law will take effect July 1 of this year, three years earlier than previously planned. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax cast his vote in favor of the measure to break a 20-20 tie in the Senate. Before businesses can begin selling the controlled substance, the legislature will need to deliberate and implement a regulatory framework, meaning sales are more likely to begin on the date originally set for the legalization of possession, 2024. The bill also provides for automatic expungement of past misdemeanor convictions concerning cannabis. Smoking in public or in vehicles will still be illegal. Virginia is the 16th state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis.