#Virginia state lawmakers have released a #budget proposal that would make public #possession of more than four #ounces of #cannabis a criminal #misdemeanor offense. Lawmakers are seeking to make public possession of more than four ounces of pot a crime again, less than a year after the legislature voted to legalize recreational cannabis for #adults. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for personal use.
Possession of between one ounce and one pound of cannabis was made a civil infraction carrying a fine of no more than $25, while possession of more than one pound of #weed remained a felony. However, under a budget proposal released by state lawmakers over the weekend, public possession of more than four ounces of cannabis would become a Class 3 misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $500. A second offense would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, with convictions subject to a sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The bipartisan budget compromise is supported by #Republican#House Appropriations Chair Barry Knight and #Democratic Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair Janet Howell. The budget proposal is not the first time Virginia lawmakers have tried to roll back the cannabis legalization bill passed last year.
During this year’s regular session of the General Assembly, Senator Adam Ebbin introduced a bill to regulate cannabis sales that would have created a new misdemeanor possession offense. In April, the state Senate rejected a proposal from Youngkin that would have set criminal penalties for possession of more than two ounces of weed as part of a #hemp industry bill. The General Assembly will meet in a special session to consider the budget proposal, including the provision to recriminalize possession of more than four ounces of #pot.