The Virginia General Assembly convened to kick off its 2019 legislative session on Wednesday, and several efforts are being made to reform the state's marijuana policies.
Two bills, HB2079 and SB997, have been introduced to decriminalize marijuana, making simple possession a civil fine of $50 for a first violation instead of an offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) also pushed for marijuana decriminalization in his State of the Commonwealth speech.
Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have stopped jailing their residents for possession of modest amounts of marijuana, and 10 of those states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for individuals over 21. Polling has shown that almost eight out of 10 Virginia residents support replacing criminal convictions with a fine, and 62 percent favor ending marijuana prohibition all together.
Contact your lawmakers today and urge them to make marijuana policy reform a priority in 2019. Then, share this message with your friends and family in Virginia.
Kentucky’s legislative session begins today, and marijuana policy reforms are already among the top issues being discussed in Frankfort. Lawmakers have indicated that they will soon be introducing several marijuana policy bills, including a medical cannabis bill, a decriminalization bill, and an adult-use legalization bill.
Although we support all of these bills, we believe the bill that has the strongest chance of passing in 2019 is the medical cannabis bill that will soon be introduced by Republican Reps. Jason Nemes and Diane St. Onge. A few months ago, Rep. Nemes confidently predicted that it would pass the legislature in 2019. However, we know that the effort will face strong opposition in the Senate, where Majority Leader Damon Thayer recently said, “I don't see the votes for medical marijuana yet.”
In order for this bill to pass, legislators will need to hear an outpouring of support from their constituents. After you write your elected officials, please share this message with your friends and family!