Marijuana will not be legal or decriminalized in Virginia as bills defeated

Delegate Stephen Heretick made announcement on Facebook

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager
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A participant smokes a marijuana joint while marching in the annual Hemp Parade (Hanfparade) on August 9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. - It doesn't appear that 2019 will be the year for Virginia to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

Virginia Delegate Stephen Heretick, who represents Virginia's 79th District, which covers parts of Norfolk and Portsmouth, made the announcement on his Facebook page.

Bellow is the text of Heretick's Facebook post from Wednesday night:

"It's a sad day for Virginia. Today the House Courts of Justice Committee defeated both marijuana legalization and decriminalization bills.This is just the beginning of the fight. I have heard from thousands of Virginians this week who have flooded my office with calls, emails, visits, and social media posts, sharing their personal stories. I have been truly touched by the outpouring of support. I decided to take a bold stand and while many politicians in Richmond quietly supported the bill, few had the courage to stand publicly with me. I will continue to fight for Virginians of all walks of life, from all political backgrounds, who believe as I do, that marijuana prohibition has been a failure. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support and for standing with me."

HB 2371, which Heretick introduced, sought to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of marijuana for those 21 years of age or older. 

For those younger than 21, the bill would have decriminalized marijuana possession and provided a civil penalty of no more than $50 for a first violation, $100 for a second violation and $250 for a third or subsequent violation. 

HB 2079, which Heretick also introduced, was aimed just to decriminalize simple marijuana possession.

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