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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.

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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