Marijuana; decriminalization of simple possession, reduces penalties for distribution. (SB104)

Introduced By

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patron Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Marijuana; decriminalization of simple marijuana possession. Decriminalizes marijuana possession and provides a civil penalty of no more than $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation, and $500 for a third or subsequent violation. Under current law there is a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum 30-day jail sentence for a first offense and subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill reduces the criminal penalties for distribution and possession with intent to distribute, etc., of marijuana. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who possesses no more than one ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use and provides that the suspended sentence/substance abuse screening provisions apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a minor. The bill also limits forfeiture of property from sale or distribution of marijuana to quantities of more than one pound; currently there is no minimum amount. Amends § 16.1-260, § 18.2-248.1, § 18.2-250.1, § 18.2-251, § 18.2-252, § 18.2-259.1, § 18.2-287.2, § 18.2-308.1:5, § 18.2-460, § 19.2-386.22, § 46.2-390.1, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
12/23/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16100351D
12/23/2015Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/03/2016Passed by indefinitely in Courts of Justice (11-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)

Comments

Bill p writes:

Fines are fine

ACLU-VA Criminal Justice, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill. Under current law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. A second offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. A 2013 ACLU report showed that in 2010, African Americans were 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in Virginia, despite similar rates of marijuana use. A 2015 Drug Policy Alliance report showed that arrests for marijuana possession and the associated racial disparities have increased in Virginia since 2010. The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports legislation that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana and help end the Commonwealth's failed, misguided war on a plant.

ACLU-VA Legislative Agenda, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill. Under current law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. A second offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. A 2013 ACLU report showed that in 2010, African Americans were 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in Virginia, despite similar rates of marijuana use. A 2015 Drug Policy Alliance report showed that arrests for marijuana possession and the associated racial disparities have increased in Virginia since 2010. The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports legislation that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana and help end the Commonwealth's stupid war on a plant.

Melanie Crovo writes:

This bill is similar to a house bill. One of these bills needs to pass. We need to stop criminalizing citizens for using a simple safe plant. Stop arresting citizens and taking away their driver's licenses. This impedes employment. College students may lose scholarships and access to student house all for choosing to recreate with the safer option of marijuana over alcohol. Virginia spent over 64 million dollars in 2010 dealing with simple possession of marijuana charges. Save the money. Redirect police efforts toward rape, robbery and murder. L