Virginia’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law Officially Takes Effect

Virginia’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law Officially Takes Effect

A marijuana decriminalization policy is officially in effect in Virginia as of Wednesday.

One month after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the bill—which will make possession of up to one ounce of cannabis punishable by a $25 fine with no threat of jail time and no criminal record—the commonwealth has become the 27th state to enact the policy change.

Lawmakers initially passed the bill in March, but the governor recommended a series of amendments and sent the legislation back to the Senate and House of Delegates for consideration.

While they adopted 15 of the Northam’s amendments, they rejected two, including one that proposed to delay a required study into the impact of broader cannabis legalization.

The enactment of the legislation—HB 972 and SB 2—fulfills a campaign promise Northam made back in 2017. As governor, he has repeatedly stressed the need for reform, including in his State of the Commonwealth addresses.

Prior Virginia law made simple possession punishable by a maximum $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail and a criminal record.

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Published at Wed, 01 Jul 2020 18:37:09 +0000

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