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Virginia Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

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Prior to May 2020, the current law in Virginia imposed a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum 30-day jail sentence for a first offense, and subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor for marijuana possession.

Moving forward, any violation of simple possession of marijuana for personal use (less than one ounce) will be the same as motor vehicle law violations and court costs will not be assessed. The bill also provides that a person's criminal history record information cannot include simple possession of marijuana charges or judgments and these charges can not be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange. However, the bill states that if a violation occurs while an individual is operating a commercial motor vehicle, such violation shall be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and shall be included on such individual's driving record.  Full details VA HB972

Notes: The bill defines "marijuana" to include hashish oil and creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who possesses no more than one ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use. The bill also (i) makes records relating to the arrest, criminal charge, or conviction of possession of marijuana not open to public inspection and disclosure, except in certain circumstances; (ii) prohibits employers and educational institutions from requiring an applicant for employment or admission to disclose information related to such arrest, criminal charge, or conviction; and (iii) prohibits agencies, officials, and employees of the state and local governments from requiring an applicant for a license, permit, registration, or governmental service to disclose information concerning such arrest, criminal charge, or conviction.

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