RICHMOND, Va. (Dec. 31, 2015) – A bill introduced in the Virginia legislature would decriminalize marijuana for adults, changing criminal penalties into civil infractions. The proposal would not only decriminalize marijuana in the Old Dominion, it would also take a big step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in practice in Virginia.
Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) pre-filed Senate Bill 104 (SB104) for introduction during the 2016 legislative session. The bill would change the Virginia state criminal code to read as follows:
It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess marijuana unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice… The attorney for the Commonwealth or the county, city, or town attorney may prosecute such a case. Any violation of this section may be charged by summons.
Upon the prosecution of a person for violation of this section, ownership or occupancy of the premises or vehicle upon or in which marijuana was found shall not create a presumption that such person either knowingly or intentionally possessed such marijuana.
Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $100, upon a second violation is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $250, and upon a third or subsequent violation is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $500. Such civil penalties are payable to the Literary Fund.