Virginia state senator Sen. Adam Ebbin has introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Under the proposal, the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would be decriminalized. Currently, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is punishable by a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
“The criminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana ruins far more lives than it impacts in any kind of positive ways. [The bill] would decriminalize simple possession of an ounce or less, but not decriminalize it to the extent done recently in Colorado and Washington state,” stated Ebbin.
In addition, the bill also would reduce the criminal penalties for distribution and possession with the intent to distribute and would also limit the forfeiture of property from the sale or distribution of 1 pound or more.
“This is not just a conversation starter; we need to pass this bill. We’ve been talking to many of the members. … I think there is general support for the core of the bill, which is removing criminal penalties for people who possess small amounts — even from Republicans.” said Edward McCann, policy director for Virginia NORML.