Marijuana’s journey from prohibition to partial acceptance by some states has been long and difficult. Currently, dozens of states have medical marijuana programs, and even fewer allow adult recreational use within their borders. Still, the number is slowly growing, as evidenced by the numerous drug reform campaigns prior to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Virginia joins the list after the Governor announced on Sunday that he had approved a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession. It was passed by legislators and transmitted to his desk in March, and it would make possessing up to one ounce of cannabis punishable by a $25 fine with no threat of jail time and no criminal record.
Previously, the state punished simple possession with a maximum $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail and a criminal record.
The Governor, who has consistently expressed support for decriminalization, approved the legislation with no public signing ceremony due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Writing on Twitter, he said that he had ‘signed bold new laws to reform criminal justice in Virginia, including measures to raise the felony larceny threshold, permanently eliminate driver’s license suspensions for unpaid court fines and fees, raise the age of juvenile transfer to adult court, and reform parole.’
“Every Virginian deserves access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system, these bills combat mass incarceration, increase support for returning citizens, and ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have a meaningful second chance,” he concluded.
Non-profit organization NORML has registered its approval for the decriminalization bill. “Virginians have long opposed the criminalization of personal marijuana possession, and Governor Northam’s signature turns that public opinion into public policy,” says NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle, who also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate, Virginia NORML.
According to Senator Adam Ebbin, who spearheaded the efforts to amend the state’s possession laws in conjunction with House Majority Leader Delegate Charniele Herring, this is a major step forward for criminal justice reform in Virginia. “The prohibition on marijuana has clearly failed and impacts nearly 30,000 Virginians per year. It’s well past time that we stop doing damage to people’s employment prospects, education opportunities, and parental rights.”
Additionally, Delegate Herring stated that it is an important step in mitigating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
“While marijuana arrests across the nation have decreased, arrests in Virginia have increased. This Niko will not eliminate the racial disparities surrounding marijuana, but it will prevent low-level offenders from receiving jail time for simple possession while we move toward legalization in the coming years with a framework that addresses both public safety and equity in an emerging market,” Herring commented.
Experts agree that the entire cannabis industry, including SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING), are happy that some good news for marijuana reform advocates is still seeping through despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
To receive instant SMS alerts, text CANNABIS to 21000 (U.S. Mobile Phones Only)
For more information please visit https://www.CNW420.com
Do you have a questions or are you interested in working with CNW420? Ask our Editor
CNW420 is part of the InvestorBrandNetwork.