Right now possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana in Virginia is a misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. A subsequent offense raises the penalties to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Possession of a half ounce of marijuana or more is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a whopping 10 years in prison. Ten years in prison for possession 14 grams of a plant that is 114 times safer than alcohol.
Virginia’s Senate majority leader Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment Jr.,a Republican from James City, has requested that the State of Virginia look into marijuana decriminalization. He has specifically tasked the people conducting the study he called for to look at:
- The ”consequences experienced by any state” that has decriminalized marijuana
- Any studies dealing with the theory that marijuana is a gateway drug
- Marijuana DUII laws in Virginia
- Any ramifications with the feds if marijuana was decriminalized in Virginia
- Whether states have opted to raise penalties for subsequent offenses, even though marijuana is decriminalized there
I’m curious to see what the study concludes, given that all of the information that Senator Norment is looking for is easily accessible. The only ‘consequences’ experienced by a state that has decriminalized is saving tax payer dollars, and preventing people’s lives from being ruined for possessing marijuana. Marijuana is not a gateway drug, proven by many, many studies. Marijuana decriminalization would be a great thing for the State of Virginia. The only thing that would be better is outright legalization.