Virginia Just Decriminalized Marijuana

Virginia Just Decriminalized Marijuana

The state is the 27th to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

 

Virginia is decriminalizing marijuana.

On Sunday, Governor Ralph Northam (D) announced that he passed a bill that will eliminate jail time for simple possession of marijuana, leaving a civil penalty with a fine. Northam previously said Virginia Cannabis decriminalization was a priority for him, and the newly-elected Democrat-controlled legislature soon followed suit.

This is not the complete legalization of marijuana. Under decriminalization, prison or prison penalties are removed, but lower-level penalties, such as a fine, remain in effect, and sales remain illegal. Under legalization, all penalties for possession of marijuana are removed and sales are generally allowed.

Some opponents of legalization favor decriminalization as a step toward eliminating America’s harsh drug and criminal justice policies. They consider “harsh crime” policies too punitive and costly, but they don’t want to resort to full legalization, which they fear would make marijuana too accessible in the United States and allow large corporations to sell and market the drug. irresponsible way.

The concern of legalization advocates is that Virginia Decriminalization maintains the ban on selling marijuana, which means that users would not have a legal source for the drug, and therefore criminal organizations would still have a source of income that may use for violent operations worldwide. Fines, while less punitive than arrests or prison time, can also cause problems, as they are often applied in a racially disparate manner.

Some activists, including the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, oppose the decriminalization measure for similar reasons: They fear the bill won’t do enough to dismantle the status quo of the ban, preferring lawmakers Legalize directly instead of taking smaller steps.

But state lawmakers and other activists argued that some progress is better than none. So after Democrats seized control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in decades, they moved to decriminalize.

Eleven states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana. Sixteen other states, which now include Virginia, have decriminalized.

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Marijuana laws in the USA

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With the decriminalization done, activists in Virginia are likely to resort to legalization. The state legislature, meanwhile, approved a study on legalization. But while legalization will roll out across the United States this year, so far no state in the South has fully legalized marijuana.

Supporters of the legalization argue that it removes the damage from the marijuana ban: the hundreds of thousands of arrests in the United States, the racial disparities behind those arrests, and the billions of dollars flowing from the illicit marijuana black market. to drug cartels that then use the money for violent operations around the world. All of this, advocates of legalization say, will overcome any of the possible drawbacks, such as increased use of cannabis, that could come with legalization.

Meanwhile, opponents claim that legalization will allow a large marijuana industry to irresponsibly market the drug. They purpose to America’s experiences with the alcohol and tobacco industries particularly, that have designed their monetary empires mostly on a number of the heaviest customers of their merchandise. This could cause many more people to use marijuana, even if it has negative health consequences.

Leaving that debate aside, Virginia has decriminalized cannabis.

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