Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Shot Down By Panel

VIRGINIA:  The Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Wednesday killed a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The committee voted 9-5 to “pass by indefinitely,” meaning Senate Bill 686, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, is dead for this legislative session. All of the Republicans on the panel voted in favor of that motion; all of the Democrats voted against it (the motion to pass the bill by, not the bill itself).

The vote came after 12 people spoke in support of the bill and eight spoke against it. The committee chairman, Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, limited each side to five minutes.

Opponents included Kevin Carroll of the Fraternal Order of Police, Thomas Bradshaw of the Virginia State Police and Richard L. Brehm of the Germanna Community College Police Department. They cited problems caused by the decriminalization of marijuana in states like Colorado and Maryland and in Washington, D.C.

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