You are here: Home / Policy & Legal / Virginia / Prosecutors won’t pursue marijuana possession charges in 2 Northern Va. counties January 3,... Prosecutors won’t pursue marijuana possession charges in 2 Northern Va. counties

Adults possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use will no longer be prosecuted in two Northern Virginia counties, new prosecutors in Fairfax and Arlington said Thursday on one of their first days on the job.

The moves fulfill campaign pledges by Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano and Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa ­Dehghani-Tafti, who won election in November promising sweeping criminal justice reform.

Both Descano and Dehghani-Tafti said pot possession prosecutions do little to protect public safety, disproportionately fall on people of color, saddle defendants with damaging convictions and drain resources that can better be spent on more serious crimes.

But the policy changes angered some critics who said the prosecutors were overstepping their authority and drew sharp questions from at least one Fairfax County judge.

Descano said the policy brings Fairfax County’s values into the courthouse.

“I traveled around Fairfax County for over a year listening to people,” Descano said. “The thing that came up time and time again was simple possession of marijuana — how it was a waste of resources and led to unjust outcomes.” [Read more at The Washington Post]

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