Marijuana Decriminalization Advances in Virginia State Legislature

Virginia may be a step closer to reducing its draconian punishments for small-time cannabis possession. SB2, which would clear some past cannabis-related offenses from individuals’ records and reduce sentencing possession offenses, passed from the State Senate judiciary committee by an 11-2 vote, to the finance committee on Wednesday. 

The bill would drop the penalty for small scale possession to $50, which would be a big shift. Currently, if you’re found with even a tiny amount of marijuana, you can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail and forced to pay a $500 fine. 

“it is time to recognize that the prohibition on cannabis has failed, and move together away from an outdated system that has disproportionately affected people of color in the Commonwealth,” tweeted Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax State Senator Adam Ebbin. 

But not everyone is pleased with the narrowness of SB2’s scope when it comes to repairing the social injustices wrought by the war on drugs. The ACLU of Virginia posted on Twitter, “We are deeply disappointed that the Senate Judiciary committee reported SB 2 to the Senate Finance committee without allowing community members to testify and raise our voices for a more EQUITABLE marijuana legislation.”

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