When the Virginia Legislature is back in session next month, one of the bills they will be considering will be SB 686. SB 686 will decriminalize marijuana in Virginia, and make marijuana possession punishable by a fine of up to $100. While it’s not full legalization, SB 686 is far better than the current penalty. Per Marijuana Policy Project:
When the Virginia Legislature convenes in January, a bill to stop criminalizing those who simply possess marijuana will be awaiting consideration.
Today, an individual convicted of marijuana possession in Virginia can be thrown in jail for up to thirty days, fined up to $500, or both! This overly punitive approach can destroy dreams — a criminal conviction makes it harder to get a job, housing, and education. Criminalizing marijuana possession also wastes vast amounts of resources. In 2012, there were more than 20,000 arrests made in Virginia for marijuana possession. It takes time for police to book marijuana users, prosecutors to try cases, and labs to test marijuana. Meanwhile, more than half of all reported rapes and 80% of all burglaries went unsolved.
If you live in Virginia, I strongly urge you to start calling your Senators right now. Call them early and often. Not sure who your Senator is? Go to this page at this link here.