Virginia’s Senate Bill you should know about:
Under current VA law, a penalty for marijuana possession is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum 30-day jail sentence. This includes subsequent offenses classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. According to the US Federal Bureau, Virginia has the highest increase of arrests dealing with the state’s marijuana laws. Its nearly 22,000 annual marijuana possession arrests is one of the highest totals of any state in the nation. The increase comes at a time when arrests of similar violations were falling nationwide.
Senate bill 1269 is pending to eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession offenses. Senate bill 1269 provides a civil penalty of no more than $100 for a first-time marijuana possession violation—no arrest, no jail time and no criminal record. The bill further protects Virginians by ensuring that a driver’s license suspension can apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a minor. The bill is also in line with those of numerous other states, including Connecticut, Maine, Nebraska, and Maryland. Such a change will not only save taxpayers money but allow police to reprioritize their resources towards more serious crimes.