Virginia prosecutor to drop most misdemeanor marijuana cases

April 12, 2019

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia prosecutor says most misdemeanor marijuana possession charges are going to be dismissed.

News outlets report the office of the prosecutor in Portsmouth started asking this week to dismiss such pending cases.

Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales says there’s a need for decriminalization and restorative justice. She says her office’s limited resources could be better spent on violent crime.

However, Portsmouth interim police Chief Angela Greene says her officers will keep making arrests and enforce the law. Morales says prosecutors will likely pursue the charges when they are filed in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court too.

Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood said in January that his office won’t prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases. He says he’ll ask the state Supreme Court to force local judges to let him decriminalize the drug in Norfolk.