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.