The Senate on Monday passed a bill that would allow someone charged with possession of marijuana for the first time to later pay $150 to have the charge expunged.
The vote on Senate Bill 954 by Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City, was 38-2. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, said he opposed the bill because it did nothing to stop the racially disparate criminal enforcement of marijuana laws, and he cited public opinion polls saying people no longer want marijuana possession prosecuted as a crime.
Norment acknowledged his measure was not a decriminalization bill, but said it “makes a substantial step forward.”
Norment disappointed advocates for marijuana reform earlier this year when he changed his position on decriminalization. Norment had said he would push for a bill this session to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, but said he changed his mind because such a bill had no chance of passing in the House.
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