In turn, the House of Representatives and the Senate of Virginia have approved the decriminalization of cannabis. With Democratic Governor Ralph Northam supporting the change, Virginia will become the 27th state in the United States to eliminate prison sentences for simple cannabis use.
Possession of up to 28g (1 ounce) will only be punishable by a $50 fine, as opposed to the current $500 fine and 30 days in jail. Possession of CBD and THCA products for medical use based on a prescription has also been legalized.
An amnesty measure for those previously convicted was also passed by the Senate yesterday, on the sidelines of the SB2 vote on the decriminalization bill.
We all know, regardless of our views on this bill, that the ban on cannabis in this country has failed and, in the Commonwealth, as well,” said Senator Adam Ebbin, the bill's main supporter.
Last week, the Virginia Senate also passed a resolution calling for the formation of a joint commission to “study and make recommendations on how Virginia should legalize and regulate the growth, sale, and possession of cannabis by July 1, 2022, and address the impacts of cannabis prohibition.
Passing decriminalization in the House and Senate is an important first step towards legal and regulatory adult use, but it cannot be the end. We must continue because the work is not done. Attorney General Mark Herring said in a press release. For too long, Virginia's approach to cannabis has unnecessarily imposed a criminal record on Virginians. Particularly African Americans and people of color, which is finally coming to an end. I want to thank my colleagues in the House and the Senate for joining me in making this issue a priority . And I look forward to seeing the progress we can make in the coming years.
Herring, who is running for governor in 2021, said he believes the governor will adopt broader legalization when he has more data to make his decision.