A cannabis legalization bill has been filed in Virginia, and the state is now beginning to prepare for the possibility of legalization.
According to Marijuana Moment, the attorney general held a summit on Wednesday to meet with different folks from legal cannabis states to find out about how the process works and what the state would be in for.
“I don’t believe that Virginia’s current approach of criminalizing cannabis is working,” said Attorney General Mark Herring in his opening remarks. “It is needlessly creating criminals and burdening Virginians with convictions.” Herring would at least like to see decriminalization occur. “The human and social costs are enormous, in addition to the millions of dollars it costs Virginia taxpayers. And the negative consequences of the current approach fall disproportionately on African Americans and people of color,” he said. “It’s clear to me that the time for cannabis reform has come. Justice demands it. Virginians are demanding it. And I’m going to help make sure we get this right.”
Representatives from states like Colorado and Illinois also talked about how legal cannabis looks and what regulations are put in place to keep things in order. Because Democrats are in control in both chambers of the Virginia’s General Assembly, many think the time is right and legalization could have a real fighting chance.
According to a press release on the summit, Sen. Dave Marsden wants to make sure the market is equitable. “We can’t substitute a civil process for a criminal one and not expect it to lead to disparities,” he said. “Following several years of forming consensus around medical cannabis products, we have to be ready to take action in the upcoming legislative session to further reform our laws in this arena. This effort will include a more robust medical cannabis program and Attorney General Herring’s summit is a big step in ensuring we are knowledgeable on the issue and prepared to do this right.”
Virginia has been behind the legal cannabis game since the beginning. People are still facing possible charges just for CBD, and the state is just now starting to catch up when it comes to growing hemp. If they do decide to legalize, this could be huge.