Oct 05, 2020
Black individuals, cannabis legalization, cannabis reforms, cannabis regulation, civil penalty, Gov. Ralph Northam, odor of cannabis, police stops, police-civilian contact, pre-paying, SB 5013, SB 5029, sign, signature, simple possession, Tax and Regulate, VA, Virginia, Virginia General Assembly
During a special legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly approved two important cannabis reform bills. Here’s what the legislation would do:
SB 5029 would prevent law enforcement from using the odor of cannabis as a pretext for searching and seizing property.
SB 5013 would give people issued a summons for cannabis possession the option of pre-paying the civil penalty instead of having to go to court.
The bills now head to Gov. Northam’s desk. Email Gov. Northam today and ask that he sign the bills into law!
The supposed smell of cannabis is perhaps the #1 pretext for police stops. Black individuals are disproportionately stopped and searched, just as they are disproportionately arrested for cannabis. These unnecessary stops are traumatic, demeaning, and can even be deadly. SB 5029 is an important reform that will reduce police-civilian contact over the supposed smell of cannabis.
Meanwhile, SB 5013 will avoid disrupting lives by no longer forcing individuals to miss work or school to go to court for simple possession of cannabis.
After you contact the governor in support of these reforms, please take a minute to also reach out to your lawmakers and ask them to support broader reform — legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults 21 and older.
Together, we can end cannabis prohibition in Virginia!