Virginia Senate Majority Leader's Bill Would Decriminalize Marijuana for First Offenders

Virginia Senate Majority Leader's Bill Would Decriminalize Marijuana for First Offenders

Sen. Tommy Norment plans to introduce the legislation next year.

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October 31, 2017

The majority leader of the Virginia Senate said Monday he plans to introduce legislation next year that would decriminalize marijuana possession for first-time offenders.

The change would save thousands of people from the threat of criminal records and jail time. More than 112,000 people were arrested on first-offense marijuana charges from 2007 to 2016, a statewide review found.

 UPDATE: Virginia Marijuana Advocates Disappointed by Proposed Bill, Refocusing Agenda

Sen. Tommy Norment’s comments came as the State Crime Commission heard the results of a study and listened to dozens of speakers on both sides of the issue.

Norment said his bill, which is being drafted, would make first-time marijuana possession a civil offense punishable by a fine, mandatory education and a driver’s license suspension.

Subsequent offenses would remain crimes punishable by jail time.

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