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Virginia House and Senate bills consider recreational marijuana

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2021 | Criminal Law

As more and more states consider legalizing marijuana, it becomes necessary for other states to decide where they fall. Legal possession of marijuana on the highways of one state may not be legal possession in another and that may lead to confusing cases.

According to Marijuana Moment, the House recently amended and advanced a Senate’s legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The same bills with key differences

The House and Senate are not yet in agreement over a few distinct factors of legalizing recreational marijuana. Both would allow the sale to any person 21 years or older, provided an ID check, and both move to allow adults to possess up to 1 oz of marijuana with no penalty.

Each differ in when that legal possession may come into effect. The Senate version opts for possession as early as July 1st even though marijuana sales would not be in place. The House version insists that possession not be legal until sales are legal.

The House wants to limit licensing while the Senate has no restrictions on licensed facilities.

It is unclear if or when this will pass. Both versions passed each chamber, but if the House and Senate fail to pass the same

The current law for marijuana

Despite the potential legalization of marijuana, residents of Virginia must still adhere to the current enforcement or find themselves in front of the consequences of illegal drug possession charges. The decriminalized possession of 1 oz is still a civil violation with a fine of $25. And more than 1 oz counts as trafficking and comes with mandatory minimums of at least one year with fines ranging as high as $1,000,000.

As the marijuana landscape shifts with time, anyone found facing these charges may need to read up on current consequences as well as future expungement processes should the legislation pass.