Republican State Senator Ruan McDougle, Chairman of Virginia’s Republican Caucus, has announced that he will soon introduce a bill to allow those under 21 to have cannabis convictions expunged (removed) from their records. According to McDougle, the expungement proposal will be one of several criminal justice reform measures that will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session which begins in January.
According to McDougle, a former prosecutor, those under 21 should be given an opportunity to remove simple possession cases from their record in order to increase their chances of receiving employment. McDougle says the measure would apply only to personal possession cases, and not distribution cases. Those 21 and older who were charged with a cannabis possession offense before they turned 21 would also be able to have the charge expunged.
The measure is expected to be formally introduced early next month.
According to polling released in April by Quinnipiac University, 54% of voters in Virginia support legalizing recreational cannabis, with just 41% opposed.