Virginia decriminalises possession of cannabisPosted by On

Marijuana joint and money

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed legislation on decriminalising marijuana possession in the state.

The new law goes into effect 1 July.

Governor Northam, a Democrat, signed two identical bills, Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972, creating a civil penalty of no more than $25 for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, with no jail time.

Virginia House Majority Leader Charnielle Herring, who proposed the House bill, said it was a significant step to combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Current Virginia law states that the possession of marijuana is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum of 30 days in jail for first time offenders.

A second offence is a class one misdemeanour, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

The bills were passed by the state legislature in March.

The governor proposed recommendations to the bills which were approved by the state’s General Assembly in a reconvened session.

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