(WWBT) – On Friday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced he would like to decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana.

“Justice must be fair and equitable, and the punishment should fit the crime,” the Governor said.

Northam says about 29,000 Virginians were arrested in 2018 for marijuana-related charges. But decriminalization is not the same as legalization. Those caught with the drug would still face a penalty.

“Instead of getting a criminal record, people will pay a $50 civil fee and we’ll clear the records of people with previous convictions,” said Northam.

When asked about the possibility of full legalization, Northam said, “We’re not there yet, other states are as you know, but this is a step in that direction.”

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