Once upon a time in my home state (Oregon) people would get their license suspended for possessing marijuana. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana back in the 1970’s. But despite possession of marijuana no longer being a crime, the State still suspended people’s drivers license for six months when they were caught with marijuana (or any banned substance for that matter). Fortunately Oregon moved away from that policy years ago.
But other states haven’t. According to Clemency Report there were 15 states as of 2014 that suspended people’s license for personal possession of marijuana. Virginia is on that list, but a bill that was recently passed by the Virginia Senate may change that. Per The Daily Press:
State leaders are moving slowly, but noticeably, toward easing marijuana laws in Virginia. The Senate also voted Thursday to end the practice of suspending drivers licenses over possession of small amounts of marijuana. That legislation, Senate Bill 1091, passed 38-2.
The bill now heads to the other chamber of the Virginia Legislature where it faces a tougher time than it did in the Senate. A vote of 38-2 in the Senate has to count I would hope. The margin of victory will likely not be as lopsided as it was in the Senate, but I’m still hopeful that the Virginia House of Representatives will ultimately pass the bill. People are getting their license suspended in Virginia for possessing a plant (often not involving a motor vehicle in any way) that is safer than alcohol. No one should support driving under the influence, but this type of license suspension does not have to involve the operation of a motor vehicle in any way to be applied. That is not fair.