VA House Votes to Legalize Marijuana, WA Drug Decrim Bill Filed, NJ Psilocbyin Penalties Eased, More... (2/5/21)

Virginia is on the verge of legalizing marijuana, San Antonio's prosecutors will reject especially small-time marijuana and other drug possession charges, and more.

magic mushrooms (CC)
Marijuana Policy

Virginia House Votes to Legalize Marijuana. The Old Dominion took a giant step toward marijuana legalization Friday as the House of Delegates voted 55-52 to approve House Bill 2312, which would do just that. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure shortly. Governor Ralph Northam (D) supports the effort.

Psychedelics

New Jersey Governor Signs Bill Easing Penalties for Magic Mushrooms. Governor Phil Murphy (D) has signed into law Senate Bill 3256, which downgrades the possession of up to an ounce of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) from a third degree crime to a disorderly persons offense. That means people caught with 'shrooms face only six months in jail and a $1,000 fine instead of three to five years in state prison. The new law goes into effect immediately.

Asset Forfeiture

Mississippi Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill Dies. After failing to move ahead of a legislative deadline this week, a mild civil asset forfeiture reform bill has died. Senate Bill 2326 would have required proceeds from civil asset forfeitures be used to supplement and not supplant the existing budget of the participating law enforcement agency. It was sponsored by state Senator Jeremy England (R-Vancleave).

Drug Policy

Washington State Drug Decriminalization Bill Filed. State Representatives Lauren Harris (D) and Kirsten Harris-Talley (D) filed a drug decriminalization bill, Senate Bill 1499, on Thursday. The bill would also expand treatment services for people with substance abuse disorders. "Substance disorder is among the only health conditions for which a person can be arrested for displaying symptoms," the bill says. "Treating substance disorder like a crime through arrests and incarceration further disrupts and destabilizes the lives of these individuals." The amounts of various drugs to be decriminalized is not set in the bill, but will be set by state officials later.

Law Enforcement

San Antonio DA to Reduce Drug Cases. Bexar County (San Antonio) District Attorney Joe Gonzales is enacting new policies aimed at reducing the number of drug prosecutions. Under the new policies, his office will reject any marijuana cases involving less than an ounce of marijuana as well as any other drug cases involving less than a quarter gram of the controlled substance -- unless the defendant is a danger to the community. Also, prosecutors will not accept any misdemeanor drug cases without a lab report.

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