The new marijuana decriminalization law in Virginia has taken effect on July 1st and decriminalizes marijuana possession offenses and seals the records of past convictions from public view.

“NORML is proud to have worked alongside Senator Ebbin and Delegate Herring, both longtime champions of evidence-based cannabis policy, to bring about these needed changes to Virginia law,” said NORML development director, Jenn Michelle Pedini.

Pedini also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate, Virginia NORML. “Virginians have long opposed the criminalization of personal marijuana possession, and the enactment of this legislation turns that public opinion into public policy,” she added.

According to Pedini, additional legislative reforms will continue to be necessary.

“While we applaud Governor Northam, his administration, and the legislature for taking this important first step, it’s critical the legislature work swiftly to legalize and regulate the responsible use of cannabis by adults. For too long, young people, poor people, and people of color have disproportionately been impacted by cannabis criminalization, and lawmakers must take immediate steps to right these past wrongs and to undo the damage that prohibition has waged upon hundreds of thousands of Virginians.”

Under the new law, activities involving the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana are classified as a civil, not criminal offense in the state. They are punishable by a $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.

Previously these activities had been classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a criminal record, and the possible loss of driving privileges.

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