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Decriminalization of Cannabis in Virginia

            Cannabis is the legal term for what most of the general public refers to as marijuana or weed. Everyone has their own position of marijuana and some understanding of what it is or what it does. What many fail to understand is the legal burden the simple drug can have on a state and its taxpayers. Today in the United States, 17 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized cannabis ("States That", 2015). Those states realized the problem and did what they had to do to put an end to the mess cannabis caused in their state. The state of Virginia has yet to come to this realization and make a change. Every year cannabis accounts for tens of thousands of arrests. Not only do those arrests affect the person arrested, but all the citizens of the state. Because of that, everyone who resides in the state of Virginia is a stakeholder in this argument. This problem has to do the fact the people are uneducated about these matters and don't know they can speak up to the government and pass a bill just like the 17 states before us. .
             Before the problem can be dissected any further the difference between decriminalized and legalization must be identified. Decriminalization can be defined as the act of eliminating criminal penalties or legal restrictions (Dictionary.com 2010). In this case it would be lowering the charges of cannabis possession charges from criminal offenses into general fines. So instead of a full on arrest it would be a simple confiscation and a ticket. On the other hand, legalization is the complete elimination of cannabis as a criminal offense no matter the charge. It would be legal to consume and have marijuana with nothing but some age restrictions and other safety precautions. The full on legalization is a possibility for the state of Virginia, however so is reducing its outrageous possession charges that have thousands incarcerated and bring those charges down to a fine.

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