Virginia: Lawmakers Approve Bill Decriminalizing Adult-Use Marijuana Possession

Richmond, VA: Lawmakers have advanced legislation to the Governor’s desk decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.

The legislation amends existing law so that the possession Virginia lawmakers also advanced several other marijuana-related bills over tof up to one ounce of cannabis is penalized by a civil summons and a $25 fine. Under existing law, possession offenses may be punishable by up to one-year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a criminal record. The measure also allows for the sealing of past marijuana convictions. In 2018, police made nearly 29,000 marijuana-related arrests.

“This long overdue victory comes after years of sustained effort by Virginia NORML and its members. A supermajority of Virginians has for many years opposed the continued criminalization of personal possession, and the legislature has finally taken action to turn public opinion into public policy,” said NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate, Virginia NORML.

The proposal now goes to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who supports the law change  Once signed into law, the measure will take effect July 1, 2020.

Twenty six states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of marijuana.

Virginia lawmakers also advanced several other marijuana-related bills over the course of the 2020 legislative session, including Senate Bill 1015 and Senate Bill 976, which expand the state’s nascent medical program and improve legal protections for state-qualified patients.

For more information, contact Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director, or visit Virginia NORML.