Virginia Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Law Containing Employment-Related Provisions
Tags : Criminal Screening
On May 21, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation (HB 972/SB 2) to decriminalize simple marijuana possession and prohibit employers from requiring applicants to disclose information related to past criminal charges for such possession. The law will take effect July 1, 2020.
Currently, Virginia law allows individuals charged with marijuana possession to be fined and/or to be imprisoned for up to 30 days for a first offense. Subsequent offenses may be charged as Class 1 misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. The new law decriminalizes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, punishable by a fine of no more than $25.
Additionally, the law provides that convictions for simple marijuana possession will not be reflected on a person's criminal record. Records relating to prior charges for these minor offenses - including being arrested for, charged with, or convicted of such conduct - will generally no longer be open to public inspection and disclosure, with narrow law-enforcement-related exceptions (e.g., to determine eligibility to possess or purchase a firearm, to prepare a pretrial investigation report, and for certain employment opportunities with certain state agencies). If, however, a person is found to have possessed marijuana while operating a commercial motor vehicle, that violation will be reported to the state Department of Motor Vehicles and added to the person's driving record.
Employers (including state agencies and state and local governments) and educational institutions are prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose information relating to charges of simple marijuana possession in any application, interview, or during any other part of the hiring, admission, or licensing process. Anyone who willfully violates these provisions is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for each violation.
In addition, the law permits individuals whose simple marijuana possession charges are not pursued or otherwise dismissed, or who are acquitted of such charges, to file a petition requesting police and court records related to the charge be expunged.
Finally, the legislation requires the state Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Finance, Health and Human Services, and Public Safety and Homeland Security to convene a work group to study the impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana in Virginia. The work group must report its recommendations to the General Assembly and the governor by November 1, 2020.
© 2020 Littler Mendelson. All Rights Reserved. LITTLER MENDELSON®, ASAP®, INSIGHT® and LITTLER REPORT® are registered trademarks of Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Posted: May 27, 2020
All Rights Reserved © 2020 Business Information Group, Inc.
This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.
We cannot express enough how much we have enjoyed working with BIG! It has really benefitted our processing and ease of doing business!
I enjoy collaborating with BIG, and know that if I have to reach out with a question/concern, a positive attitude with a willingness to find resolve is on the other side of an email or a phone call.
You have been the most professional and most helpful business partner that I have ever been associated with — always there to assist us and with rapid turnaround times.
I am confident whenever we add a product with your company that I will have a good experience.
We have received superior service and we know this is what you and your team strive for. We are grateful for the dedication, level of professionalism and effort shown.