Virginia’s lawyer basic indicated on Tuesday that 1 target of a marijuana reform summit he’s hosting subsequent week is to supply the governor with information and facts he requirements to get behind cannabis legalization.
Lawyer Common Mark Herring mentioned that with new Democratic legislative majorities elected in November’s elections, the state is effectively positioned to advance cannabis reform that has stalled below the existing Common Assembly. That is why he’s organizing an occasion to answer inquiries about the policies and set lawmakers up to pass decriminalization legislation as effectively as create a program to a lot more broadly legalize marijuana for adult use.
But a query has remained as to no matter if legalization will get the assistance of Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who campaigned on the a lot more incremental move of decriminalizing possession and talked about the problem in his State of the Commonwealth address this year but has not explicitly backed broader reform.
“Based on my conversations, he supports decriminalization,” the lawyer basic told Cheddar in response to a query about the governor’s cannabis stance. “Like a lot of persons, I believe they’d like to get a lot more information and facts about what legalization and what regulated, adult-use would appear like.”
“Criminalizing marijuana possession is not operating.” Lawyer Common @MarkHerringVA mentioned he will host a #cannabis summit to advance decriminalization in Virginia. #CheddarLive pic.twitter.com/ecB4BSQo5w
— Cheddar (@cheddar) December 3, 2019
“There are some major inquiries out there about what Virginia requirements to settle for itself,” Herring, who is operating for governor himself in 2021, mentioned. “Other states have talked about it, came to a consensus in their states about how to respond to that and do it—I believe that is a thing that we have to have to have that conversation in Virginia now and give lawmakers, policymakers, such as the governor, a lot more information and facts, a lot more tools.”
According to an invitation for Herring’s occasion, which is set to take spot on December 11, the summit is “designed to improved inform these discussions and provide perspectives from states that have implemented comparable adjustments at the state level.”
“I hope to give lawmakers a lot more information and facts, to get their inquiries, address any concern they could possibly have,” Herring mentioned. “I’m bringing specialists in. I’m bringing people from other states that have currently taken these methods so they can share the experiences that they’ve had with decriminalization and legalization.”
“I truly hope that this will create on the momentum that we began earlier final summer season, then with the new elections getting occurred, we’ll have new leadership due to the fact some of these reform measures that have bene proposed had regularly been defeated in the old Republican leadership in the state legislature,” he mentioned. “Now we’ve got a entire new group coming in and I believe it is a historic chance for Virginia to truly make a important step right here.”
Herring pointed to polling that shows Virginia residents are supportive of reform and mentioned legislative efforts will be bolstered by a cannabis caucus that is formed in the legislature.
The leading law enforcement official has been a robust advocate for decriminalization and legalization, emphasizing the waste of police sources committed to enforcing criminalization, the extended-term harms of criminal records for low-level cannabis offenses and the have to have for policies that are equitable.
“The social and human expenses [of prohibition] are tremendous, and the weight of the program falls disproportionately on African Americans and persons of colour,” he wrote in an op-ed final month. “There are smarter, improved methods we can deal with cannabis and that starts with decriminalizing easy possession of compact amounts, addressing previous convictions and moving towards legal, regulated adult use.”
A lawmaker in the state has currently prefiled a cannabis decriminalization bill for the 2020 session that would make possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana punishable by a maximum $50 civil penalty.
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Photo courtesy of Twitter/Cheddar.