I received the following legislative alert out of Virginia today:
Yesterday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law SB 1091, finally ending Virginia’s practice of automatically suspending a driver’s license for six months after receiving a first offense marijuana possession conviction. Now, the court has discretion as to whether to impose this condition as a term of probation. Anyone receiving such a conviction will still be subject to other conditions under Virginia law, including substance abuse screening, drug testing, and community service. Minors are still subject to the automatic license suspension. This law takes effect on July 1, 2017.
Last week, the governor also signed SB 1027, permitting “pharmaceutical processors” to produce low-THC cannabis oil for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. This extremely narrow law will eventually provide for in-state production and distribution of the oil, and patients will be able to enroll in a program with their doctors’ certification. You can read more about the program here.
While these two enacted reforms are steps in the right direction, they are far short of the improvements Virginians need. A poll released earlier this year found nearly eight in 10 state residents support replacing marijuana criminal convictions with a fine, and 62% favored ending cannabis prohibition altogether. Now, eyes turn to Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment’s (R) plans to convene a crime commission next month to study these and other issues. MPP will be watching closely and will be sure to keep you updated on developments.
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Marijuana Policy Project