September 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 262

Advertisement

September 17, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 16, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Virginia Marijuana Bill to Bar Applicant Questions on Decriminalized Charges

On April 12, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signaled his approval of—but has not yet signed—legislation (House Bill 972) that would decriminalize simple possession of marijuana. Under the bill, an individual found to be in possession of no more than one ounce of marijuana would be subject to a maximum civil penalty of $25. This would be a significant reduction from the current penalty for simple possession, which carries a maximum fine of $500, up to 30 days in jail, and a criminal record. The impact of decriminalization on Virginia’s criminal process has been the highlight of the legislation, but the bill would also include restrictions that impact the application process for employers operating in the Commonwealth.

Sealing of Criminal Records and Prohibition on Applicant Questions

The legislation would require that criminal records related to previous prosecutions for simple marijuana possession be sealed with disclosure available only under limited circumstances. In addition to sealing previous criminal records, the bill would prohibit any employer or educational institution from requiring an applicant to disclose information related to any arrest, criminal charge, or conviction for any decriminalized possession of marijuana. Once the bill is enacted, each violation of the new restriction for simple possession (i.e., possession of no more than one ounce of marijuana) would be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Governor Northam proposed several technical amendments that have been reviewed and adopted in part by the General Assembly. Unless the governor takes further action before May 22, 2020, the legislation will be formally enacted and will take effect on July 1, 2020.

Key Takeaways

It appears likely that the legislation will be enacted, so employers may want to review their application process and prepare to modify procedures to ensure compliance before decriminalization takes effect. Employers that are parties to collective bargaining agreements may want to review language related to applicant screening to address any provisions that may be invalidated by the legislation.

© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 132
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Scott A. Siegner Associate Ogletree Richmond Employment Law, Litigation, discrimination, wrongful discharge, harassment, and wage and hour violations
Associate

Scott Siegner is an attorney in the Richmond office of Ogletree Deakins. Scott’s practice includes employment litigation and counseling, with a focus on litigating claims of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, harassment, and wage and hour violations in both state and federal court.  Scott has successfully represented clients in multi-day jury trials, state grievance hearings, agency investigations, mediations, and arbitrations.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Scott worked as a litigation associate for a nationwide firm where he gained experience in medical malpractice...

18046632342
Brazitte A. Poole Employment Litigation Attorney Ogletree Deakins Pittsburgh, PA
Associate

Brazitte’s practice extends across the litigation and counseling aspects of employment law. On the litigation side, Brazitte defends employers of all sizes against allegations of harassment and discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment act of 1967 (ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and related state laws. On the counseling side, Brazitte advises clients on complex human resources issues that arise on a daily basis in the workplace. To that end, Brazitte develops and...

412-230-8932
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement