In July, Virginia officially decriminalized cannabis possession of up to one ounce, a positive for cannabis reform and a benefit to the many residents of Virginia who are now a bit less apt to get jammed up in the system for using and possessing cannabis.
Leading up to decriminalization, arrests for cannabis were actually increasing and as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed earlier this year, over the past decade, a Black Virginian was 3.4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than a white person.
Legalization meanwhile, remains up for debate. Virginia governor Ralph Northam campaigned on decriminalization and connected it to racial equity, but he has been less vocal about legalization. Last week, Richmond, VA mayor Levar Stoney wrote a letter to Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, requesting the General Assembly special session that begins on Tuesday, August 18 address cannabis legalization, connecting it to “increasing equity and inclusion.”