Legislation that would reduce the penalty for, and allow for the expungement of, first time marijuana possession charges has been passed by Virginia’s full Senate.
The Senate voted 38 to 2 today to pass Senate Bill 954, which was filed by Senator Tommy Norment (R). The measure “Reduces the penalties for possession of marijuana to a fine of not more than $500”, whereas currently such a charge can result in up to 30 days in jail. The bill also provides that a first offense for possession of marijuana is eligible for expungement, given the individual charged pays a $150 fee (which would go to the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic Fund)
Senator Norment says that although the measure is far from perfect and isn’t as large of a law change as he’d prefer, it still “makes a substantial step forward.”