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Virginia House of Delegates votes to decriminalize marijuana

In a sweeping bipartisan vote in the House of Delegates, members voted to decriminalize marijuana possession on Monday 64-34.

House Bill 972, introduced by Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, passed its second major hurdle of the 2020 session on Monday. Nine of the 44 Republicans in the House voted to support the bill that would knock simple possession down to a civil fine of $25 and block a bevy of organizations being allowed to see any record of it.

Decriminalization and legalization have swept through much of the Western United States and appear to be raining down money on early adopters such as Colorado which, since legalizing the drug in 2014, have brought in more than $1 billion in tax revenue.

Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Mount Jackson, was the only representative from the Frederick-Warren-Shenandoah county area to vote no on Monday’s bill. Gilbert said that despite short-term successes such as Colorado, there are still potential problems that haven’t been addressed.

“I have long believed that Virginia should allow other states to make all the mistakes before we ever consider changing marijuana policy. I’m not yet aware that any state has figured out the best way to address the unintended consequences of moving in this direction.” [Read more at The Nothern Virginia Daily]

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