Virginia is very quickly about to become the 27th state to decriminalize marijuana use and possession!
This week, decriminalization bills were passed in both chambers of the General Assembly. What needs to be done now is: the legislature will have to sort out the differences in the two bills and create a final bill. This final bill will head to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk for his approval or veto. Gov. Northam — a man who has decriminalization as a top priority in 2020 — is more than likely to sign the bill into law.
The Senate decriminalization bill, SB 2, cleared the Senate yesterday with a resounding majority of 27 votes to 13. SB 2 would make possession of cannabis up to an ounce punishable by a $50 civil fine. SB 2 would also increase the threshold for charges of sales and possession with intent to disperse, from half an ounce to one ounce.
What does the House have to say about Marijuana?
Meanwhile, the House version, which was approved by the House in a majority vote of 64 to 34, would make simple possession a civil penalty punishable by a $25 fine. The House version would also allow criminal records for marijuana possession to be sealed.
The action to decriminalize marijuana in Virginia has been long awaited. Under today’s law, marijuana possession is a criminal offense. In fact, it’s punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.