RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – When it comes to marijuana, Virginia has lagged behind many states where the drug has been decriminalized or legalized for... Virginia to again consider marijuana decriminalization

– When it comes to marijuana, Virginia has lagged behind many states where the drug has been decriminalized or legalized for recreational use.

With lawmakers approving an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program in 2018, supporters of decriminalization are hoping that momentum will continue in 2019. But Virginia Republicans don’t appear willing to support decriminalization.

As the General Assembly gears up for a new legislative session starting Jan. 9, Democratic state Sen. Adam Ebbin has submitted a bill to decriminalize simple marijuana possession — defined as ½ ounce or less — and provide a maximum civil penalty of $50 for a first violation. The current law carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a maximum $500 fine for a first offense.”Will Virginia eventually decriminalize personal possession of marijuana? Yes. Will it be in 2019? That’s very unlikely,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana has been introduced in Virginia for years, but has always died in committee. Pedini said the House and Senate Courts of Justice committees are made up largely of Republicans — some with law enforcement backgrounds — making it difficult to build support for decriminalization or legalization. [Read More @ Fox5]

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