Legalization Prompting Review of Virginia Marijuana Laws

Legalization Prompting Review of Virginia Marijuana Laws

With the world all around him changing, a top Republican lawmaker in Virginiawho just happens to think that jail terms for cannabis possession are absolutely crazybelieves it may be time for the states marijuana laws to get with the times.

Sen. Thomas K. Norment, the state Senates majority leader, has asked the Virginia State Crime Commission to thoroughly examine the states marijuana laws in the context of recent national developments, according to the Daily Press.

Following cannabiss historic showing on election day last month, adult-use marijuana is now legal or will soon be legal for all adults 21 and over in eight states. Another 26 states now have some medical-marijuana program, either approved by voters, or already enacted.

In this context, Norment wants the Virginia Crime Commission to weigh whats going on in those states and review the latest research on marijuana and its effects, the Daily Press reported. (That shouldnt take too long; as faithful readers are well-aware, federal prohibition has stymied deep dives into cannabiss potential as medicine, though some studies recently underway may change that.)

Other topics on the agenda are the same issues states across the country are grappling with, including what to do about marijuana DUIs, the conflict between state and federal laws and what cannabis has to do with the countrys out-of-control opiate epidemic.

Virginia currently punishes marijuana possession as a misdemeanor, with maximum penalties of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Marijuana offenses have dropped by 14 percent in the past two years, according to the newspaper, and as an anti-legalization prosecutor pointed out, the state punishes underage possession of alcohol more severely than it does marijuana.

Following the review, the commission could then recommend changes to the states marijuana laws, but change will come slowly in Virginia, if at all.

It could take up to a year for the Crime Commission to return with recommendationsif the commission agrees by majority vote to take up the issue at all. As it happens, the commissions chair, Del. Robert Bell, is a staunch opponent of legalization, the Daily Press reported.

And if the commission does ...

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