Virginia moves toward marijuana decriminalization

Virginia

FILE – In this April 20, 2016, file photo, a man smokes a marijuana joint at a party celebrating weed in Seattle. A new federally funded study found, not surprisingly, that marijuana use in Washington state is up since pot became legal in 2014. The hard, or not-so-hard, evidence was in sewage samples. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WDVM) — Virginia is moving toward decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana. The state House on Monday passed a decriminalization bill with bipartisan support.

The state Senate is expected to pass its own version shortly. Governor Ralph Northam (D) has signaled his support for the measure. If passed, the legislation would scrap criminal charges for possessing marijuana and replace them with small fines.

Supporters have argued the measure is needed in part because African Americans are disproportionately charged with drug crimes. A measure to legalize marijuana failed earlier this year. 

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