VA NORML works with local lawmakers on decriminalizing marijuana

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, lead grower Dave Wilson cares for marijuana plants in the "Flower Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. Another important element is falling into place for Illinoisans... (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A group is working to decriminalize marijuana in Virginia.

NORML is a national organization that says criminalized marijuana is not beneficial for America. The local chapter of the group is working with Virginia delegates to change laws which make growing and possessing pot a serious crime.

Members of the group met at a restaurant in the Star City to discuss how decriminalization of marijuana could move forward.

Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine Melanie Crovo is a member of the Virginia National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

She joined because she wants to raise awareness about the positive effects of weed.

"I'd like to put the science back in the discussion because there are a lot of medical benefits to using marijuana from pain control to epilepsy," Crovo said.

Pamela Novy is the Executive Director of Virginia Norml.

Novy said the national organization is pushing for the full legalization or marijuana but she said Virginia may not be ready, so instead the Roanoke chapter is pushing for the decriminalization of pot.

"Not giving people criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and the ability to use and access medical marijuana," Novy said.

The group met with local leaders to discuss criminal justice reform on marijuana.

"I think clearly differentiating between a minor possession like marijuana possessing and dealing heroin, what we have seen is so many families devastated and what we want to do is find ways to modify the current laws," Delegate Sam Rasoul said.

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