New criminal penalty for marijuana possession goes into effect in Virginia

Posted at 11:47 AM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 07:41:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Most of the legislation passed earlier this year by the divided Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin will take effect Friday.

That includes measures that lifted a sweeping ban on facial recognition technology, expanded hunting on public lands, and added a new criminal penalty for marijuana possession.

Through the budget, lawmakers created a new criminal misdemeanor for possessing more than 4 ounces (113 grams) but not more than 1 pound (454 grams) of marijuana in public.

In 2021, the General Assembly - then fully controlled by Democrats - legalized adult possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and laid the groundwork for retail sales to begin in 2024.

Possession of more than an ounce but less than a pound was previously punishable as a civil violation with a $25 fine.

This year's change drew an outcry from civil rights and marijuana justice advocacy groups, who opposed the creation of a new criminal penalty.



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