Over the past few months, there was a significant amount of momentum for a bill to decriminalize marijuana in the state of Virginia. But as of Monday, that momentum has died.
A Virginia Senate committee voted down a bill that would've decriminalized cannabis in the state. The committee voted down the proposal along party lines, as the nine Republicans voted against it and the six Democrats voted for it. This was a slightly surprising outcome considering one of the bill's original sponsors was Virginia Senate Leader and Republican Tommy Norment. Despite stating his support for the bill in recent months, Norment voted against it on Monday, saying he didn't believe the bill would pass the Virginia House and therefore wasn't worth passing in the Senate as well. He argued he was being practical.
“There are always those enthusiasts who want to lambaste you for having no guts,” he said.
Talk about someone committed to their values!
The committee did unanimously pass a bill that would allow people with one marijuana possession offense to apply to get their record expunged. While that's slightly positive, some noted that many poor people, who are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, may not be able to afford the fee required to get their record expunged.
So Virginia went from looking like a state opening up to cannabis issues to one sticking their heads back into the sand.
(h/t Richmond Times-Dispatch)