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Northam amends bill to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana

Posted at 11:29 PM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 23:46:44-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has amended a bill pushing off a study on fully legalizing marijuana until November of 2021 .

However, the majority of legislation to decriminalize marijuana remains unchanged.

  • House Bill 972 decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana and creates a $25 civil penalty. The bill seals the records of convictions and prohibits employers from inquiring about past convictions. The bill creates a work group to study the impact of legalization of marijuana. Governor Northam proposes to require that report by November 30, 2021.

The governor did sign off on other criminal justice reform measures, including increasing the threshold for a grand larceny charge to $1,000.

Northam also signed a bill that permanently does away with suspending drivers licenses for unpaid court costs or fines.

Any bill the governor amended or vetoed now goes back to state lawmakers for consideration when they are scheduled to meet later this month.