Cannabis-Related Arrests in Virginia Decrease By 90 Percent After Legalization

High Times

Virginia cannabis law went into effect on July 1, 2021, and in a little over two months since that starting date, the county of Richmond has experienced a shocking decrease in cannabis-related arrests.  The new law legalizes cannabis possession up to one ounce, as well as cultivation of up to four personal plants per household, but requires that the grower tags their plants with their driver’s license/ID and a note saying that they are being grown for personal use. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, cannabis arrests have decreased by 90 percent in the state’s capitol. During the first seven weeks of the law’s enactment (with data collected from July 1 to August 20), reports show that there were 20 arrests in Chesterfield, two in Henrico, zero in Hanover and three in Richmond for a total of 25 arrests. In July and August of 2020, there were 257 arrests. “A 90 percent reduction in marijuana arrests indicates that the public policy is performing as intended and in a manner that is consistent with post-legalization observations from other states,” said National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws development director and executive director of the Virginia NORML chapter Jenn Michelle Pedini. Due to the newness of the law’s enactment, some of the offenders claim to be unaware of what the law does and does not allow. Ten of the arrests ranged between 18 to 20 years of age and were charged with underage possession (which is only a civil penalty). The law states that anyone over age 21 may possess up to one ounce of cannabis, but consuming in public is prohibited. Seven of the 20 people who were charged with cannabis-related arrests were 16 or 17 years old. Shutterstock Virginia Clarifies New Law Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz shared that his law…

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