Virginia Lawmaker Announces Plans to File Cannabis Legalization Bill
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Virginia Lawmaker Announces Plans to File Cannabis Legalization Bill

Del. Steve Heretick will file a legalization bill next year, as well as legislation to decriminalize possession of up to a half ounce of cannabis.

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September 23, 2019

Virginia Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth) has announced plans to file a bill to legalize cannabis in the state again next year, after his first attempt stalled in the legislature this year, according to The Virginia Pilot.

Heretick, who is up for re-election and running unopposed this November, will also file legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession of up to a half ounce, the news outlet reported. Possession is currently classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, but under Heretick’s bill, only civil penalties would be imposed.

Heretick believes decriminalization efforts have a “reasonably good chance” of passing the legislature next year if Democrats secure the majority in both chambers, according to The Virginia Pilot. All 140 seats are up for election this fall.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced his support for adult-use cannabis legalization in June, vowing to work with state leaders to take steps toward policy reform.