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Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring: Marijuana legalization is crucial for promoting equity

Herring says it’s a matter of public safety and justice, among other things

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says legalizing marijuana is key to promoting equity in the Commonwealth. (WSLS)

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says legalizing marijuana is key to promoting equity in the Commonwealth.

Herring said a report on marijuana legalization from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) confirms what he has “long been saying.”

“...Virginia needs to allow legal, regulated adult use of marijuana as a matter of public safety, justice, equity, and economic opportunity,” said Herring, in part, in a statement released Monday night. “For too long, the Commonwealth’s approach to cannabis was needlessly and disproportionately saddling Black Virginians and people of color with convictions and this report shows just how important legalizing marijuana is for promoting equity in Virginia.”

Herring said the JLARC report found, among other things, that Black Virginians are arrested 3.5 times higher than white people for marijuana-related charges.

Herring has been considered a longtime advocate for cannabis reform and marijuana legalization. Herring helped decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana during the 2020 General Assembly Session. In 2019, Herring held the “Virginia Cannabis Summit” which brought together legislators, state agencies and other stakeholders to create a plan of action for reforming Virginia’s cannabis laws.

“...I am proud of what we have already been able to accomplish and I look forward to working with my colleagues and advocacy partners as we continue to move Virginia forward on a path towards full legalization," said Herring.


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