A group of state lawmakers will decide in a closed meeting Wednesday whether the state should study marijuana decriminalization this year as requested by a key legislative leader.
The executive committee of the Virginia State Crime Commission will meet in Richmond to discuss several pending requests for studies, according to commission staff attorney Colin Drabert. Once the study plan for the year is finalized it will be posted on the commission’s website.
Just a few years ago, the issue of marijuana decriminalization wasn’t on the legislature’s radar.
Legislation in the General Assembly to change the punishment for small amounts of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty had not made it out of committee. But last year, officials and activists in the city of Norfolk began pushing for decriminalization.
Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, said he supported a state study of the issue. Norment is a member of the commission, whose chairman is Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle. Norment wrote a letter to Bell requesting that the Crime Commission undertake a study about whether Virginia law on small amounts of marijuana should be changed. [Read more at Richmond Times-Dispatch]