Virginia NAACP Continues To Advocate for Equitable Marijuana Legislation That Prioritizes Restorative Justice

RICHMOND – The Virginia NAACP continues to advocate for equitable marijuana decriminalization legislation following Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement today that he will ask the Virginia General Assembly to move up the timeline for decriminalizing simple marijuana possession. Further, the Virginia NAACP will launch a statewide campaign to lobby legislators for changes that prioritize restorative justice.

“We are encouraged that Governor Northam is proposing NAACP-backed changes to the marijuana legislation,” said President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. “The Virginia NAACP remains concerned that Virginia’s elected officials continue to prioritize the recreational desires of some while placing restorative justice measures on the back-burner.”

The Virginia NAACP urges the Virginia General Assembly to expedite the timeline for expungement and sealing of marijuana criminal records with a firm deadline. With statewide elections just months away, the governor’s amendment allows for expungement to begin “as soon as state agencies are able to do so and simplify the criteria for when records can be sealed.” Virginians should not need to wait for an undetermined, subjective period of time to have their records expunged and records sealed. The Virginia NAACP demands restorative justice.

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Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is focused on being the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocating for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting

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