Virginia Lawmakers Want to Recriminalize Pot

Virginia Lawmakers Want to Recriminalize Pot
High Times

Virginia state lawmakers are seeking to make public possession of more than four ounces of pot a crime again, less than a year after the legislature voted to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for personal use. Possession of between one ounce and one pound of cannabis was made a civil infraction carrying a fine of no more than $25, while possession of more than one pound of weed remained a felony. But under a budget proposal released by state lawmakers over the weekend, public possession of more than four ounces of cannabis would become a Class 3 misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $500. A second offense would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, with convictions subject to a sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The bipartisan budget compromise is supported by Republican House Appropriations Chair Barry Knight and Democratic Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair Janet Howell, according to a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We didn’t get all we wanted but I think, in view of what we got, we are very satisfied,” Knight said after the budget proposal was released on Sunday evening. “I don’t think that the Senate prevailed over the House or the House prevailed over the Senate.” Last year, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission recommended that Virginia follow the lead of other states and make possession of larger amounts of cannabis a misdemeanor, a change he said was desired by police. “It’s more in line with what other states are doing so we’re not an anomaly out there by ourselves,” said Knight. “We know our law enforcement wanted it.” Virginia Activists and Some Lawmakers Oppose…

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