The state of Virginia is like most states without any legal marijuana – strict repercussions on marijuana related offenses. The least damaging punishment is 30 days of incarceration and a $500 fine and that’s just for a first offense of possessing less than an ounce of cannabis. The worst is up to 40 years in prison and $1,000,000 fine for merely bringing an ounce or more of cannabis concentrate over Virginia state lines. Now Virginia’s Senate Majority Leader, Thomas K. Norment jr, who previously opposed and voted against marijuana, is stepping in and working to change Virginia’s approach on cannabis.
Thomas K Norment jr recently contacted Robert Bell, the Chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission, requesting a study be done on 5 cannabis legalization factors:
The Consequences experienced by states who have decriminalized
This will allow Virginia to see from an outsider’s point of view just how beneficial marijuana decriminalization can be for society.
Studies working on the theory of cannabis being a “gateway drug”
There are already studies showing that cannabis consumers don’t have a tendency to turn to other drugs once having used cannabis making this aspect of the research optimistic for Virginia residents who are looking to turn to cannabis in the future.
Virginia DUII laws regarding cannabis
This is a problem any state that has legalized/decriminalized faces; just like alcohol, there are those who will inevitably abuse it and suffer the repercussions of driving under the influence.
Any potential problems with the federal government if cannabis were decriminalized
As of November 11th, 2016 there are 8 states (9 including Washington DC) that are recreationally legal and 19 that are medically legal, Colorado and Washington being the longest standing; The results of those two states alone qualify as proof as to how the federal government will react.
Any stricter penalties put into place for the states that have already decriminalized
This seems a bit contradicting in regard to the states who have enforced stricter penalties; the purpose of legalizing marijuana was to reduce penalization of such a harmless drug. However, if this aspect of the study is needed in order to decriminalize marijuana in Virginia then so be it.
Currently Virginia allows epileptic patients to have and use extracts with less than 5% THC having passed that law last year. While this fairly new law and request for cannabis research are minor in the grand scheme of things, the future of cannabis is looking more than hopeful in Virginia.
The Weed Blog