Months after the state of Virginia have legalized marijuana in July of this year, Virginia Mercury reports that the state has successfully sealed over 64,000 marijuana distribution charges. According to the news site, the number came after a meeting held last Thursday, October 14, 2020, with the Cannabis Oversight Commission.
Jennifer McClellan took to social networking site Twitter to announce the meeting held by the agency, with her tweet saying, “The Virginia Joint Commission on Cannabis Oversight is meeting now. You can find the agenda and links to livestream and to provide public comment.”
More than the 64,000 aforementioned charges, Virginia Mercury said the state has already managed to seal some 333,0000 records of possession in just the past year. The movement comes after the state of Virginia moved to reduce simple possession charges to a mere civil infraction.
Now that the penalty is now akin to an infraction, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security of Virginia Shawn G. Talmadge likens this simply to a traffic offense or violation.
Following the sealing of the said misdemeanor charges related to marijuana distribution, Virginia Mercury notes that the records have officially been removed from the criminal record database of the state.
The database in question is reportedly being used by employers and recruiters alike to see the criminal records of applicants. Among those who refer to the database include state agencies, local governments, school boards, and the like.
On top of the charges sealing and removal happening in the state, Virginia Mercury said that the Cannabis Oversight Commission also met with two cannabis advocates who were fighting for the unjust imprisonment levied on individuals who have been imprisoned due to varying cannabis-related offenses.
As of writing, the news site states that there are 10 individuals who are kept behind bars due to an array of marijuana offenses, most of which are serious charges. The number could still rise depending on the number of people affected by the violations.
The two advocates who brought to light this issue are Chelsea Higgs Wise and Gracie Burger. Wise spearheads Marijuana Justice, while Burger leads the Last Prisoner Project. In a statement, Burger said, “These aren’t just numbers are there are families attached.”
Legalization of Marijuana in Virginia
The state of Virginia officially legalized marijuana back in July of this year. It has made a monumental leap and cemented itself as the first-ever southern state to legalize adult-use cannabis, making strides in the whole community.
Under this, the state law recognizes that cannabis is now legal for adults aged 21 and older not only to possess and consume the drug, but also grow this. Up to an ounce of cannabis is allowed to be in one’s possession.
The legalization of marijuana also recognized that adult uses may consume their cannabis inside the privacy of their own homes. Likewise, the law also ordered adults to only grow up to 4 plants altogether. Sharing up to an ounce or less of marijuana is also permissible.
Meanwhile, possession exceeding the said amount of one ounce is still deemed illegal. Transactions cannot also be made with the intent to distribute or sell marijuana.