ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Wednesday is April 20 — also known as “4/20 Day,” the day people across the country celebrate marijuana. This year, the date also serves as a reminder of a highly-debated topic here in Virginia — the legalization of marijuana.

The General Assembly has until the end of the month to approve amendments to marijuana laws made by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. This includes new misdemeanor penalties for possession of more than two ounces.

There’s still no firm timeline for the retail market for recreational marijuana users, but one Roanoke group still celebrated 4/20 Day by hosting what it called a “cannabis family reunion.”

For cannabis user Rick Papa, the first-ever event in the Star City is a dream come true.

“I first wrote about this in 1978. I was a kid,” said Papa, who was 16-years-old when he wrote an article in his hometown paper lobbying for the legalization of marijuana. Although he loved using it, something else led him to support changing the laws.

“I knew it was wrong seeing friends getting arrested and jail time and all,” Papa said.

The event is a gathering for users to learn more about marijuana and to celebrate its use.

It also comes at a time when Virginia’s current administration is looking to bring back tougher penalties for personal possession and retail sales.

“Right now we don’t have recreational sales yet but there’s going to be a big push for that next year,” said Clarissa Clarke, founder of Bodhi Lounge.

In 2023, the topic of retail sales will be brought back up in the General Assembly. Clarke hopes this event breaks down barriers.

“I hope that people leave feeling safe and feeling like there is a reduction in the stigma, the shame, and the fear that so many of us have felt for decades around our cannabis consumption,” said Clarke.

On the federal level, the House voted to legalize marijuana earlier this month and, despite pushback from Republican lawmakers, Senate Democrats hope to vote on a similar bill before the end of summer.