2017 Legislative Session

There are 3 bills dealing with marijuana up for consideration during the upcoming General Assembly session:

SB 841 Marijuana; possession or distribution for medical purposes, affirmative defense for treatment: This one needs a bit of explaining. An ‘affirmative defense’ is defined as “a fact or set of facts other than those alleged by the plaintiff or prosecutor which, if proven by the defendant, defeats or mitigates the legal consequences of the defendant’s otherwise unlawful conduct.” This bill, from Arlington/Fairfax State Senator Barbara Favola (D), would grant an affirmative defense against possession charges for people who have been prescribed cannabidol oil or THC-A oil for treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Tourette syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, or complex regional pain syndrome.

SB 831 Marijuana; manufacture or possession, accommodation to another individual, penalty: From Republican Senator Bill DeSteph Jr., this bill would reduce some possession penalties from a felony to a class 1 misdemeanor. The language of the bill has a lot of language about intent and other exclusions, but it is notable to see this coming from the GOP.

SB 784 Marijuana offenses; driver’s license forfeiture, etc.: This bill from Alexandria Democrat Adam Ebbin would modify the existing law that suspends a person’s driver’s license when convicted of a drug offense. Ebbin’s amendment would remove this revocation for those placed on probation for simple possession.

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