If you live in Virginia, check out the action alert I received today, and please participate:
The Virginia General Assembly convened last week, and marijuana law reform is on the docket! After a disappointing conclusion to last year’s session, the General Assembly appears ready to tackle decriminalization of marijuana.
Late last year, the Virginia State Crime Commission looked at the benefits of marijuana decriminalization in Virginia, and the majority leader of the Senate, Sen. Tommy Norment (R), expressed his intent to introduce a bill to decriminalize simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. Sen. Norment’s bill has not yet been introduced, but he has indicated it will make the first offense a misdemeanor rather than making it a civil offense; we don’t expect the penalty for subsequent offenses to be reduced. Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), on the other hand, has introduced SB 111, which would reduce the penalty for simple possession to a civil penalty: $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second violation, and $250 for the third and subsequent violations. This bill is a huge step forward for Virginia, and Sen. Norment should stick to his promise of real decriminalization and support SB 111.
Considering Gov. Ralph Northam’s pro-decriminalization position during his campaign and the new makeup of the House of Delegates, 2018 could be the year the commonwealth stops arresting Virginians for simple possession. Please stay tuned to MPP‘s free state alerts to stay up-to-date and support MPP‘s local and national reform efforts today!
Marijuana Policy Project
P.S. As you likely heard, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded the Cole Memo, which protected state-legal marijuana businesses and individuals from federal law enforcement. If you haven’t already done so, please call your U.S. senators and member of Congress to urge them to make sure the rider that protects medical marijuana businesses from federal interference doesn’t expire on January 19 and to urge them to extend the protection to adult use.