Virginia Has Sealed 64,000 Cannabis Distribution Charges

High Times

More than 64,000 misdemeanor charges related to distribution of cannabis have been sealed in Virginia since July, when pot legalization officially took effect in the commonwealth. The figure emerged last Thursday “during a meeting of the legislature’s Cannabis Oversight Commission,” according to the Virginia Mercury. “Officials said the records were scrubbed from the state’s criminal record database, which is used by employers like school boards, state agencies and local governments to screen employees,” the website reported, and it comes after Virginia “had already sealed 333,000 records detailing charges of simple possession last year after the state reduced the offense to a civil infraction on par with a traffic offense.” In April, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation into law that made the state the first in the South to legalize recreational pot use for adults, a major step forward for the region, and a reform that the Democrat characterized as a step toward “building a more equitable and just Virginia and reforming our criminal justice system to make it more fair.” “What this really means is that people will no longer be arrested or face penalties for simple possession that follow them and affect their lives,” Northam said during a press conference at the time. “We know that marijuana laws in Virginia and throughout this country have been disproportionately enforced against communities of color and low-income Virginians.” Although retail sales in Virginia are still likely years away, the new law took effect on July 1. On that day, adults in the commonwealth could legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to four weed plants at home. Since then, Virginia’s new law has continued to take shape. Weeks after it took effect on July 1, Northam announced “appointments to the three newly-created boards responsible for overseeing the…

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Source : Virginia Has Sealed 64,000 Cannabis Distribution Charges

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