Starting today, Virginia residents will get their first taste of much-needed cannabis reform.
Thanks to a law passed by the state legislature in March and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam in May, Virginia has become the 27th state to enact marijuana decriminalization. The new law effectively moves Virginia into the status of a legal medical marijuana state, increasing the national total to 35.
Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in Virginia is now considered a civil offense, punishable only by a $25 fine.
The new law immediately seals misdemeanor marijuana possession records from employers and school administrators. It additionally redefines substances previously considered hashish as marijuana.
While the new law is a significant step, decriminalization comes nowhere close to providing the freedom and security of full legalization, and is just the first step in a longer process towards substantial change.
“Virginians have long opposed the criminalization of personal marijuana possession,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, the executive director of Virginia NORML (as well as NORML’s national development director) said in a press statement earlier this week, “and the enactment of this legislation turns that public opinion into public policy.”
Via Leafly.Com (Savage Levenson)