marijuana leaves

Sen. Adam Ebbin, a Democrat from Alexandria, has introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Under the proposal, the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would be decriminalized. Currently, possession, even of minute amount of marijuana for personal use, is punishable by a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

The bill also would reduce the criminal penalties for distribution and possession with the intent to distribute. When caught growing marijuana, a person who grows no more than six plants would be considered raising them for “personal use” and not a drug dealer.

In 2013, there were more than 24,000 marijuana arrests in the state of Virginia.

“I had requests to do it for a number of years, and I decided this year to go ahead,” Ebbin said. “There’s about 25 million Americans who smoked marijuana in the past year, and our public policy should start to reflect reality and not deny it.”