US (VA): Virginia House approves cannabis decriminalization bill

The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill to decriminalize cannabis on Monday, and the Senate is expected to pass similar legislation later this week.

The House-passed proposal would make simple possession a civil penalty punishable by a maximum $25 fine. Current policy stipulates that a first offense is punishable by a maximum $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. Lawmakers approved the bill in a 64-34 vote.

Over in the Senate, their version of the decriminalization bill will receive a first reading in that chamber later on Monday and get a full floor vote ahead of a Tuesday crossover deadline to move bills from one body to the other. This follows successful votes in the chamber’s Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.

“Momentum was slow to build during the first half of the session, but I think a lot of consensus has been reached by the halfway point,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, said. “We’re heading into crossover with a much clearer understanding of what’s likely to shake out from this session.”


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