Virginia: Crime Data Shows Surge In Marijuana Arrests

Marijuana-related arrests increased over 20 percent between the years 2016 and 2017, according to crime data compiled by the Virginia State Police.

Law enforcement officials made 27,852 arrests for marijuana violations, according to the report – up from 21,637 in 2016. At that time, Virginia ranked sixth in the nation for total marijuana arrests (trailing behind Texas, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Missouri), and fifteenth overall in per capita marijuana arrests.

Overall, some 70 percent of all drug arrests in Virginia in 2017 were marijuana related.
Under state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is defined as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a criminal record. A bill introduced during the 2018 legislative session that sought to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses was defeated in committee in January on a party line vote, with all Republicans voting against the bill.

Eight out of ten Virginians support decriminalization, fines not crimes, for possession of small amounts of marijuana,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML. “This drastic increase in arrests is completely out of step with public opinion. Law enforcement resources would be better directed towards preventing and solving violent crimes with the passage of a decriminalization bill.”

Polling data compiled by Quinnipiac University finds that 59 percent of Virginians support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

According to the findings of a 2017 Virginia Commonwealth University report, African Americans in Virginia are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at a rate that is more than three times the rate of whites.

Archived state-by-state marijuana arrest data is available online from NORML here.

18 thoughts

  1. And each arrested person has standing to question the reasonableness the the constitutionality of the law they were charged with.

    Every defendant has a right to claim they have been deprived of liberty and property without reason, without a compelling government interest, without due process of law. Judicial review is strict scrutiny.

    What is it with NORML’s lawyers? Liberty is not a fundamental right? You going to tell people the courts are to political? What does that mean? We have a neonazi judiciary?

  2. NORML must be an extension of the DEA when it does not recognize being arrested is seizure of person and deprivation of liberty.

      1. Michael, is Mommy or Daddy home? Can you put them on the blog, please?

  3. As always Virginia is still 30-50 years behind the times. That’s why most of the Film Industry, Music Industry, and Most of the big Production Companies aren’t here and never will be. I think the list will continue to grow as we move forward. I certainly would not put any large or midsized companies in states that aren’t forward thinking.

  4. I live in Virginia and I hate it!!! I would be quite happy here if I didn’t have to live in constant fear of law enforcement taking my good life away from me because of my decision to use cannabis.

    I live in a neighborhood with mostly older folks, 55+. Having spoken with most of my neighbors over the years I have found that many of them use cannabis and the great majority support legalization. They don’t want their kids or themselves being busted and locked up, fined, or any other punishment for something that should not even be considered to be a crime.

    The only reason I continue to live here is because it would be very difficult and expensive to move and I like my neighbors. As I enter my mid-60s I am outraged that our government would have me or my friends locked up for growing a plant or smoking a joint.

    Most of Virginia’s so-called leaders disgust me and most of them are Republicans. Tom Garrett is the sole Republican exception. The rest should all be fired.

    It is unbelievable that this prohibitionist mentality has persisted for longer than I have been alive. How stupid can these non-cannabis users be and how cruel!

    This is not my idea of America. How can it be that in “The Land of the Free”, we have the highest incarcerated population in the world and that is primarily because of idiotic drug laws. Why can’t we just let our fellow Americans live their lives as they choose and if they have a drug problem give them help, not punishment.

    You would think that Christians would be all over legalization. Do they think that God and/or Jesus would be okay with the drug laws in this country?

    1. The Conservative mind is usually a tightly-closed thing. Any thoughts “outside the box” are usually viewed with suspicion and fear. Most older Conservatives, alas, will take their tightly-controlled thoughts and prejudices with them to the grave. As such, we will have to legalize pot this country without their help.

  5. Extinction Burst Tantrum.

    Vet our DA’s and Sheriff’s BEFORE they are elected!

    Chase dem out.

      1. As in, “Chase dem crazy baldheads out of de yown”?

        Actually, that’s my favorite tune on Marley’s “Legalize It” album.

  6. As long as republicans continue to deny the right for adult use they will continue to lose support and Virginia will stay blue. We have 3 states on our borders that has legalized and many of us will continue to use their service’s.

    1. It does my heart good to see Virginia get out the vote and bring in an opposing political party to the corrupt Republican estalishment. The collateral benefits of mj legalization getting Democrats out to vote will be epic history.

  7. I was just in court in Suffolk VA and the possession case was dismissed because the DA did not have the marijuana tested to prove that it was in fact marijuana. Make sure that if you are charged with possession that it is in fact tested and proven to be marijuana. Probably expensive.

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