Virginia: New Bipartisan Bill Would Decriminalize Marijuana Possession, Reduce Penalty for Distribution
A bipartisan group of state legislators in Virginia have filed a measure that would decriminalize marijuana possession, and reduce the penalty for distributing up to half a pound.
According to its official summary, House Bill 1063 “Decriminalizes marijuana possession and provides a civil penalty of no more than $250 for a first violation and $1,000 for a second or subsequent violation.” Under current law, a first offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum jail sentence of 30 days, and subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill “creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who possesses no more than one-half ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use and provides that the existing suspended sentence and substance abuse screening provisions apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a minor.”
The bill also “decreases the penalty for distribution or possession with intent to sell more than one-half but not more than five pounds of marijuana from a Class 5 felony to a Class 6 felony.”