All around the United States, the move to decriminalize the use of marijuana seems to be gaining momentum. Multiple states in all parts of the country and the District of Columbia now legally allow adults at least 21 years of age to possess and use pot in accordance with their area’s laws. Along with this, many states have removed criminal charges associated with pot possession and even retroactively expunged the records of some people previously charged with these offenses. In Virginia, there have been multiple attempts to do these things, but all have failed thus far.
The Virginian-Pilot recently reported that efforts to decriminalize marijuana use and possession are once again underway in the state. This includes a push to eliminate the imposition of criminal charges on people for the possession of small amounts of pot. Exactly what would be classified as a “small amount” of marijuana is not known at this time but the change could make a major difference in many people’s lives.
In 2018, almost six out of every 10 drug arrests in Virginia were related to marijuana. For the past decade, pot has been the substance associated with the largest number of drug offenses statewide. There is strong support for the effort to remove the criminal charge for pot possession.
Also underway is a push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This is being spearheaded by a candidate currently running for office. This candidate was the former president of the Virginia Board of Medicine and touts both the medicinal and recreational benefits of pot.