Here is how much Virginia taxpayers are spending to jail marijuana users

set of marijuana decriminalization made by the Virginia Condition Crime Commission ahead of consideration of proposed legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession within the condition. The debts wouldn’t legalize marijuana outright but will make having small amount of marijuana a civil offense punishable having a fine, much like a traffic ticket. Under current Virginia law, an initial marijuana offense could be punished by as much as thirty days in prison along with a $500 fine.

Used, based on the Condition Crime Commission’s report, relatively couple of individuals are jailed for marijuana offenses. Incarceration is frequently waived for first-time offenders, and just about 31 percent of subsequent marijuana offenses are punished with jail sentences.

One of the 127 inmates jailed in Virginia on marijuana charges on This summer 20, greater than three-quarters of these — 96 — remained as waiting for a full day in the court. The rest of the 31 marijuana inmates have been billed and charged. The typical per-inmate cost to taxpayers to jail an inmate in Virginia was $79.28 each day.

A large number of Virginians are charged of marijuana possession offenses every year, and also the number keeps growing: In fiscal 2008, there have been 6,533 convictions for first-time marijuana possession in Virginia. The preliminary figures for fiscal 2017 show greater than 10,000 such convictions.

Individuals convictions, whether or not they lead to incarceration, could be devastating, based on the report. They can lead to loss of employment or perhaps a security clearance, suspension of federal student aid, difficulty acquiring housing, and difficulties with professional licensing and child child custody disputes.

Additionally, there are the financial cost to think about. “A very first time marijuana offender symbolized by court-hired counsel can count on paying roughly $400 to $800 in costs and charges,” based on the report. Failure to pay for individuals charges can lead to additional fines and snowballing legal debt.

The responsibility of marijuana enforcement in Virginia falls disproportionately on youthful black men, based on the report. African Americans constitute about 20 % of people in Virginia but take into account 45.five percent of marijuana possession arrests. Across the country, blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates.

Across the country, 22 states as well as the District of Columbia have decriminalized the having small amount of marijuana. Inside a 2016 survey, 78 percent of Virginians stated they favored decriminalizing marijuana, and 62 percent supported outright legalization of recreational use.

In preparing the report, the Virginia Condition Crime Commission received 3,850 written comments on marijuana decriminalization in the public. Greater than 97 percent of these were meant for the insurance policy.

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