By Missy Schrott | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney will implement a new diversion program for misdemeanor possession of marijuana offenses, Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter announced in a Wednesday news release.
Beginning on Sept. 3, people charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana will have the opportunity to have their charges dismissed if they successfully complete the diversion program, according to the release.
Almost anyone charged with a small amount of marijuana for personal use will be eligible to participate in the program, even if they have a criminal record, according to the release. In addition, court costs and fines will be waived for program participants.
The program will require participants to undergo drug screening, to comply with pretrial supervision and to complete a small amount of community service, according to the release.
“My hope is that the majority of marijuana possession offenses will be diverted from the adjudication process, allowing my staff to focus on more serious crimes,” Porter said in a statement. “I am particularly pleased that offending citizens who complete our program will be eligible for expungement and may therefore avoid the negative consequences a criminal record causes in employment, education and housing.”