There has been recent movement at the federal level to reform drug laws. The goal with such reform is to reduce the strain on the prison system by allowing people with minor drug crimes to not have to do time in prison. The federal reform is a great first step, but that only affects offenders at the federal level. States still have to make their own reform bills. In Virginia, the move towards reform is occurring very slowly.

AP News reports that the state is behind most other states in terms of handling marijuana’s legal status. It has not implemented many of the decriminalization steps that other states have. However, there is movement in that direction. There is work towards decriminalizing marijuana, but there are still hold outs within the government who are not quite ready for this next step.

The current goal is to drastically reduce the penalties for possession of marijuana under one ounce. The proposed ideas would eliminate jail time as a punishment and impose a very small fine. However, this has been the continuous pitch that never makes it out of committee. For years, it has been discussed, but nothing has yet to be done.

The main goal now for legislatures is to focus on elections. The hope is that when all members of the General Assembly face reelection in 2019 that there will be a turnover that provides new members who support the decriminalization efforts. This information is for education and is not legal advice.