Richmond, VA: The majority of Virginians oppose criminalizing minor marijuana possession offenders, according to statewide polling survey data compiled by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project.
Sixty percent of those surveyed responded favorably to the notion of amending state law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana would be reduced from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil fine of no more than $100.00. Only 32 percent of those polled disagreed with depenalizing marijuana possession offenses.
Virginia police annually arrest some 19,000 individuals for marijuana possession offenses. Only 11 other states make more annual marijuana possession arrests.
Legislation (Senate Bill 686) prefiled in the state seeks to amend state law to reclassify cannabis possession as a non-criminal offense.
In response to separate polling questions, 74 percent of Virginians endorsed the idea of legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes while just under half of all respondents (49 percent) voiced support for regulating the plant's production and sales to all adults.
For more information, please contact Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit Virginia NORML at: http://www.vanorml.org.