skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Is Marijuana Decriminalization in VA a Nonstarter?

play audio
Play

Thursday, January 3, 2019   

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia lawmakers have managed to rid the state of common restrictions around the approval of medical marijuana, but an effort to decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed might be a nonstarter for Republicans in control.

Instead of being sentenced up to 30 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine for possessing a half ounce or less of marijuana, Alexandria Democrat Adam Ebbin's Senate bill would change current law to a simple $50 penalty for a first violation.

However, it looks as though marijuana advocates will have to settle for the highs of policy reforms in 2018 because Republicans in charge of committees to hear the bill aren't willing to support decriminalization.

"The writing is on the wall,” says Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “These members are primarily prosecutors, former prosecutors, former law enforcement, and maintaining the status quo is something that works for them."

Opponents are concerned that decriminalization would lead to more teens using as well as an increase in impaired driving.

Pedini says her organization already is looking ahead to the 2020 legislative session when every member of the General Assembly is up for re-election at the end of the year.

Public opinion polls show the majority of Virginians support the idea behind Senate Bill 997, and Pedini says she's not buying the excuses from Republicans in charge of the House and Senate Courts of Justice committees.

"No, I don't think the reasons they provided are legitimate, like this isn't a priority for their constituents, which as we know from polling is in fact untrue,” she states. “Three quarters of Virginians support fines, not crimes, for simple marijuana possessions.”

The bill will have to gain the unlikely approval from those committees before it can get a floor vote. So advocates are hoping for additional Democratic shifts by the 2020 session to see advancement in proposed reforms.

According to Pedini, 23 states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana and 33 states allow medical cannabis programs.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…


Environment

play sound

It's early in the season for wildfires in Nebraska, but dozens of firefighters have already been battling a large wildfire near North Platte for …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report finds some Missouri laws and prospective laws are perceived as discriminatory regardless of their actual intent - and it outlines some bi…


Many transmission projects already follow highway corridors, but depending on the state, policy experts say laws can make it harder to add new power lines along federal interstates. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Joyce Foundation-Public News Ser…

Environment

play sound

By Claire Carlson, John Upton and Kaitlyn Trudeau for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Oregon News Service for the Public …

From book bans to teacher qualifications, a new national report from the Network of Public Education examines the laws and policies that support or undermine each state's public schools and the students who attend them. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

play sound

A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …

Social Issues

play sound

As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing …

Social Issues

play sound

A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021