Cannabis-Related Arrests in Virginia Decrease By 90 Percent After Legalization



Virginia hashish regulation went into outcome on July 1, 2021, and in a minimal about two months considering the fact that that starting day, the county of Richmond has professional a stunning lower in hashish-relevant arrests. 

The new legislation legalizes hashish possession up to just one ounce, as properly as cultivation of up to four private vegetation per family, but involves that the grower tags their vegetation with their driver’s license/ID and a note expressing that they are staying developed for personalized use.

In accordance to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, cannabis arrests have decreased by 90 percent in the state’s capitol. Through the first 7 weeks of the law’s enactment (with info gathered from July 1 to August 20), stories display that there have been 20 arrests in Chesterfield, two in Henrico, zero in Hanover and 3 in Richmond for a whole of 25 arrests. In July and August of 2020, there ended up 257 arrests.

“A 90 % reduction in cannabis arrests suggests that the public policy is executing as intended and in a way that is steady with article-legalization observations from other states,” said Nationwide Corporation for the Reform of Marijuana Guidelines enhancement director and government director of the Virginia NORML chapter Jenn Michelle Pedini.

Because of to the newness of the law’s enactment, some of the offenders declare to be unaware of what the law does and does not enable. 10 of the arrests ranged involving 18 to 20 years of age and ended up charged with underage possession (which is only a civil penalty). The law states that any person over age 21 may possibly have up to a single ounce of hashish, but consuming in public is prohibited. Seven of the 20 people today who had been billed with cannabis-similar arrests were being 16 or 17 yrs previous.

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Virginia Clarifies New Law

Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz shared that his law enforcement officers have not “shied away” from latest laws, and that it is significant to arrest people in the title of public security. Though they are not searching for out cannabis-associated arrests, they will make a demand if it’s relevant.

Some of the recorded arrests had been for far more than just underage possession, even though. A person personal from Chesterfield was caught escalating an believed 50 cannabis vegetation and also could not present the grower’s title or driver’s license to demonstrate that they were being permitted. 

Prior to the new law’s enactment, Katz released a statement on Facebook on June 25, together with a Chesterfield County Law enforcement instructional YouTube video clip, hoping to help the area neighborhood realize what the regulation entails. 

“Virginia, we have a trouble. A good deal of people think that as of July 1, 2021, the possession and use of cannabis is lawful in just the Commonwealth. In actuality, it is not that simple,” he shared. “We come to feel an obligation to those people we serve to supply a minimal context into some of the a lot more granular nuances of this greatly misunderstood legislation… but even this temporary animated summary does not exchange an in-depth overview of the regulation as handed. The satan is in the details, as they say… and like all laws passed by our legislature, it is our charge to really encourage compliance and enforce violations. Ignorance of the legislation is not a protection, so we motivate anyone to be equally educated and risk-free.” 

Katz isn’t a supporter of the law as it at this time stands. He tells the Richmond Occasions-Dispatch that although possession is authorized, there are not any revenue fronts for people to purchase hashish from. Instead, they have to possibly develop their individual crops or revert to getting cannabis off the black market. Hashish income rules are not anticipating to roll out right up until January 1, 2024, though there are initiatives underway to try out for an before start.

According to New Frontier Facts, hashish-linked arrests have been decreasing steadily due to the fact 2017. There were being an believed 27,852 total cannabis arrests in the condition of Virginia in 2017, 28,866 in 2018, 26,470 in 2019 and a remarkable reduce of 13,674 in 2020.