On Thursday, May 21st, the governor of the US state of Virginia signed bills to decriminalize cannabis possession.
After the lawmakers’ initial approval of the measures in March, Gov. Ralph Northam suggested various amendments and re-sent the legislation to the Senate and House of Delegates for further assessment. 15 out of 17 amendments were approved.
The amended bills were sent back to Governor Northam, and now they’re officially approved. The Governor, who fullfilled a campaign promise made in 2017, declared himself to be proud and happy that Virginia had finally took care of what he defined “long-neglected priorities” which affected the rights of the citizens. Under the legislation, possessing up to one ounce of cannabis will be punishable by a $25 fine with no threat of jail time and no criminal record. Current Virginia law makes simple possession punishable by a maximum $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail and a criminal record.
Once the law enters into function, from July 1st, 2020 Virginia will officially become the 27th state to eliminate the risk of jail time for possession of small amounts of cannabis. It is also the first US state to do it this year.