Marijuana decriminalization one step closer to becoming law in Virginia

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia lawmakers are expected to discuss marijuana decriminalization during a Senate Committee debate Wednesday afternoon.

If signed into law, HB 972, would decriminalize simple marijuana possession and penalize those caught with weed with a small fee — $25. The bill passed with bipartisan support on Monday, Feb. 10.

Currently, the maximum fine for marijuana possession (first offense) is $500 and a 30-day jail sentence.

The bill defines “marijuana” to include hashish oil. It also states that a person who possesses no more than one-half ounce of marijuana has it for personal use.

If passed, the bill also makes records relating to marijuana arrests closed to the public. It also stops potential employers from asking applicants for that information.

Critics have said that the bill does not go far enough and that legislation is necessary.

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