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Marijuana decriminalization in Virginia – Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in

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Marijuana decriminalization in Virginia - Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in

Marijuana decriminalization in Virginia – Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in

Marijuana decriminalization and legalization are near and dear to my heart both as a Fairfax criminal lawyer and as a civil libertarian.

Fairfax criminal lawyer knows the sky does not fall with marijuana decriminalization

Fortunately, some Virginia lawmakers and political candidates are ready to start catching up with the other states that have decriminalized marijuana and not seen the sky fall, not even when marijuana/cannabis has been outright legalized for personal and medicinal use.

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam is friendlier to marijuana decriminalization that Ed Gillespie

On November 7, 2017, Virginia voters’ ballot choice will include the election of the Commonwealth’s next governor, with Ralph Northam on the Democratic ticket and Ed Gillespie as the Republican nominee. What are their positions on marijuana decriminalization? Marijuana Majority founder and chairperson Tom Angell reports that Northam, “supports decriminalizing marijuana and expanding medical cannabis access.” Gillespie is more lukewarm about marijuana decriminalization, with Angell reporting that Gillespie “has said he supports policies that would reduce marijuana arrests as well as enacting a more limited expansion of the state’s current low-THC medical cannabis law.”

Virginia’s Senate Majority Leader is on board with first-time decriminalization

Meanwhile, in Virginia Senate majority leader Tommy Norment (R) is in the process of drafting a bill for the 2018 legislative session that would convert a first time marijuana possession offense from a criminal to a civil disposition, with a fine, drug education, and suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license (presumably with eligibility to obtain restricted driving privileges during the license suspension period). He gives 50-50 odds that his proposed marijuana decriminalization legislation will pass.

As the Virginia Pilot reports: “[A]s an attorney who teaches at the College of William & Mary, [Norment has] seen the effect criminal drug convictions have on young people’s futures, he said. He called it ‘collateral damage.'”

When people like Tommy Norment (who does not support full marijuana legalization) come out for marijuana decriminalization and Bill Nye the Science Guy (who does not like marijuana) comes out for full legalization and regulation of marijuana, we are seeing the wisdom of non-marijuana consumers supporting marijuana law reform.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz transitioned to criminal defense in 1991 with the marijuana legalization cause being part of that defining moment. To discuss your marijuana, drug, felony or misdemeanor case with Jon, please call his staff to set a confidential consultation, at 703-383-1100. 

1 Comment

  1. John Iorio on November 5, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t like Mr. Norment’s bill at all…why should a young person go thru that punishment over a bag of weed?? absolutely ridiculous legislation…..what are the penalties for some underage person getting nailed with a bottle of smirnoff???…… Yes to a civil disposition, no to d.m.v. penalties, and certainly NO to a silly, lame class on drugs or booze. Today ‘ s youth are well- versed in drugs and alcohol and they also have a conscience………..Perhaps there can be stiffer penalties for quantity ( an ounce or more) I will agree to that… I’m not in favor of weed abuse or alcoholism among kids, but Mr. Norment has lost all sense of perspective. These are serious penalites and will harm a youngster all through their 20’s……what horseshit! I have gotten to know hundreds of 20 somethings through my years with NORML and working sound at music festivals, and I will say that today’s young crowd is many more times as knowledgeable about drug use than my peers (50-75 let’s say) If Tommy Norment has really observed “the collateral damages”, then why is he in favor of tacking on all sorts of additional fines and penalties?? What a consummate hypocrite, and typical politician after parent s vote’s..
    I dare say that the Virginia Pilot is a hypocritical paper as well. We are not seeing “non- marijauna consumers” supporting marijuana law reform at all……We are seeing business – as-usual from gasbagging politicians- and we know that there’s nothing reforming about that at all…..be quiet Virginia Pilot, and step down from office Tommy Norment…..you are more suited for the nunnery, or perhaps the church lady role on saturday night live.