This week, both the House of Delegates and the Senate voted in favor of decriminalizing personal possession of marijuana, and the Senate voted unanimously to legalize participation in Virginia’s medical cannabis program. Long overdue progress is finally being made in the General Assembly thanks to many years of dedicated advocacy by Virginia NORML and its members.
We are now at the the halfway point in the legislative session called “crossover,” when any bill that has passed its originating chamber crosses over to the other chamber, repeating the process of moving through subcommittee, committee, and chamber floor votes.
What happens next?
There are just under 30 days left in the legislative session. A bill must be approved by both the Senate and the House before it can be sent to the governor. New laws take effect July 1, unless the governor adds an emergency clause stipulating it takes effect upon his signature. You can track the progress of marijuana-related legislation on the Virginia NORML website.
Below is a quick summary of the major cannabis-related bills that crossed over.
Senator Adam Ebbin’s SB 2 passed the Senate 27-13. It would make personal possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana a $50 fine, and would treat juvenile offenses with a Child in Need of Services (ChINS) petition.
Delegate Charniele Herring’s HB 972, the Administration’s bill, passed the House 64-34. It would impose a $25 fine for possession of up to ½ ounce and treats juvenile offenses as delinquency. The anticipated outcome is that the bills will be sent to a conference committee where they will be reconciled into one version. The final version must be approved on the floor of both chambers before it can be sent to the governor for signature.
Please click below to send an email to your lawmakers in support of these bills!
Senator Dave Marsden’s SB 1015 passed the Senate 40-0. It would make participation in the medical cannabis program legal, a significant improvement from the current law which provides only an affirmative defense.
Delegate Israel O’Quinn’s HB 1460 passed the House of Delegates 100-0, and would allow registered practitioners to issue patient certifications through the use of telemedicine, expanding access for many rural Virginians. It would also allow non-residents living in the Commonwealth, like military families and students, to register for the medical cannabis program.
Please click below to send an email to your lawmakers urging them to support legalizing the medical cannabis program.
Senator Tommy Norment’s SB 608 passed the Senate unanimously, and would allow misdemeanor marijuana convictions, deferred dispositions, and civil infractions to be expunged.
Please click below to send an email to your lawmakers urging them to support expungement.
Virginia NORML 2020 Membership cards are here! Get yours now and help support our efforts in the General Assembly and across Virginia. Join during February and receive a free Virginia NORML sticker!
Are you ready to get more involved? Click here to see Virginia NORML's events around the state this month. We’ll be signing up volunteers to help staff our monthly events all across the state. Come meet the team and take action to change marijuana laws in Virginia. Bring your 2020 Member Card and receive a badge clip.
Thanks so much for your support,
The Virginia NORML Team
P.S. Our efforts are supported by thousands of people throughout Virginia as we work to advance marijuana law reform in the Commonwealth and at the federal level. Can you kick in $5, $10, or $25 a month to help us keep going?