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Virginia Becomes 27th State To Decriminalize Marijuana

The bill seals the records on prior convictions and requires employers to remove criminal history questions.

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This story originally appeared on Benzinga

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Sunday that has signed a set of criminal justice reform bills that were proposed in January into law, including one that decriminalizes cannabis. 

via Benzinga

House Bill 972 decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana and institutes a $25 civil penalty.

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Northam proposed a study on legalizing marijuana in the Commonwealth, with a deadline of Nov. 30, 2021.

The bill seals the records on prior convictions and requires employers to remove criminal history questions.


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Northam signed a total of six bills and two amendments. They include an increase to the felony larceny threshold; permanent elimination of driver's license suspensions for unpaid fines, fees and court costs; raising the age at which juveniles can be transferred to adult court; and probation reform.

Virginia House Majority Leader Charniele Herring reacted positively to the passage of the legislation. 

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"As a lawyer, I believe in justice, and that means we must aspire to a legal system that promotes equality under the law," Herring said in a statement.

Sen. Louise Lucas said "Virginia's old laws often led to too many black and brown people getting harsher punishments than the majority of Virginians."

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