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Virginia NORML Calls for Legalization to Protect Marijuana Consumers from Potentially Tainted Products

Richmond, Va: Virginia NORML today reiterated its call that state lawmakers expeditiously move forward in 2021 with legislation legalizing and regulating the adult-use marijuana market.

The organization reaffirmed its support for legalization following preliminary reports by the City of Alexandria of potentially tainted marijuana products. Thus far, however, those reports have yet to be substantiated by analytical testing.

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First Virginia Medical Cannabis Dispensary Grand Opening

We are pleased to announce that Dharma Pharmaceuticals will open Saturday, October 17, 2020! Registered patients will be able to purchase medical cannabis products at their Bristol location beginning at 9 AM.

Patients planning to attend the Grand Opening must call 833-434-2762 for an appointment. Dharma will provide patients the opportunity to meet with a pharmacist in a confidential setting, who will help them develop a treatment plan and provide them with information to track their results.

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Legislation to End Searches Based on Odor of Marijuana Heads to Governor’s Desk

Richmond, VA: During the 2020 Special Session, Virginia House and Senate lawmakers have finalized and passed legislation, Senate Bill 5029 by Senator Louise Lucas (D-18) and House Bill 5058 by Delegate Patrick Hope (D-47), that severely limits the ability of police to engage in warrantless searches solely on basis of the odor of marijuana.

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Calls for Marijuana Legalization

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter to Governor Ralph Northam, House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana and the automatic expungement of past convictions. In a tweet announcing his letter, Mayor Stoney urges lawmakers "to unequivocally pursue restorative justice, on August 18 and going forward."

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The Path to Marijuana Legalization - Senator Adam Ebbin


The prohibition of marijuana in America has clearly failed. After six hard years of building support, educating colleagues, and workshopping legislation, I was able to pass SB2, my bill to eliminate the criminal penalty for personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and downgrade the offense to a $25 pre-payable fine processed much like a traffic ticket. House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) passed companion legislation. Our bills were a critical step to reform our criminal justice system and lay the groundwork for the equitable legalization of cannabis.

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Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Wednesday, July 1

Law Change Will Result in Tens of Thousands of Fewer Arrests

Richmond, VA: Legislation passed this spring decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses and sealing the records of past convictions from public view takes effect on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

“NORML is proud to have worked alongside Senator Ebbin and Delegate Herring, both longtime champions of evidence-based cannabis policy, to bring about these needed changes to Virginia law,” said NORML development director, Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate, Virginia NORML. “Virginians have long opposed the criminalization of personal marijuana possession, and the enactment of this legislation turns that public opinion into public policy.”

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Virginia Decriminalizes Marijuana

Richmond, VA: Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has signed legislation (Senate Bill 2 | House Bill 972) decriminalizing marijuana possession. The new law takes effect July 1, 2020 and reduces penalties for offenses involving personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation – punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.

Under current law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a criminal record, and the possible loss of driving privileges. According to data from the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, more than 15,000 people were convicted for a first or second marijuana possession offense from July 2018 to June 2019.

“NORML is proud to have worked alongside Senator Ebbin and Delegate Herring, both longtime champions of evidence-based cannabis policy," said NORML development director, Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate, Virginia NORML. "This victory comes after many years of sustained effort by Virginia NORML and its membership. And while we applaud Governor Northam, his administration, and the legislature for taking this step, it’s critical that they work swiftly to legalize and regulate the responsible use of cannabis by adults and begin undoing the damages prohibition has waged on tens of thousands of Virginians."

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Governor Northam Approves Bills to Decriminalize Marijuana and Legalize Medical Cannabis

Richmond, VA: Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has approved legislation (Senate Bill 2 | House Bill 972) decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses. Northam also recommended technical amendments which must be approved by the legislature before the new law takes effect July 1, 2020. 

The law reduces penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation – punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.

Under current law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a criminal record, and the possible loss of driving privileges. According to data from the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, more than 15,000 people were convicted for a first or second marijuana possession offense from July 2018 to June 2019.

"Virginians have long opposed the criminalization of personal marijuana possession, and Governor Northam’s signature turns that public opinion into public policy,” said NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate, Virginia NORML

The new law also seals the criminal records of past marijuana offenders from employers and school administrators, and defines substances previously considered hashish as marijuana.

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Virginia Legislature Approves Decriminalization and Legal Medical Cannabis

Richmond, VA: Broad changes to marijuana laws swept through the 2020 Virginia General Assembly. Today, the legislature approved SB2 and HB 972 to decriminalize marijuana possession. Those in possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use will no longer be subject to criminal prosecution and will instead face a maximum $25 civil penalty. The bipartisan, bicameral effort led by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-30) and House Majority Leader Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46), also allows for the sealing of records for misdemeanor arrests, charges, convictions, and deferred dispositions for marijuana possession from employers and schools, and redefines extractions previously considered hashish as marijuana. The legislation now heads to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk for approval.

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Virginia NORML 2020 General Assembly Update: Crossover

Big wins!

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.

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