December 7, 2016

Virginia Senate Majority Leader Requests Statewide Cannabis Study

December 7, 2016

Virginia’s Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) has sent a letter to the chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission, Delegate Robert Bell (R-Albemarle), requesting that the agency to examine the state’s enforcement of cannabis policies and whether or not they’re effective in their goals.

The letter, which asks for Bell’s “input, suggestions and concerns,” follows recent comments he made suggesting he’s now in support of decriminalizing cannabis, something he previously opposed and even voted against.

“I think it’s absolutely crazy that we continue to lock people up for possession of a modest amount of marijuana,” Norment told the Norfolk City Council early last month. “We are tough on crime. It’s a question of what crimes we want to be tough on.”

According to the Daily Press, Norment Jr. specifically asked for the study to examine:

  • The ”consequences experienced by any state” that has decriminalized marijuana
  • Any studies dealing with the theory that marijuana is a gateway drug
  • Marijuana DUII laws in Virginia
  • Any ramifications with the feds if marijuana was decriminalized in Virginia
  • Whether states have opted to raise penalties for subsequent offenses, even though marijuana is decriminalized there

Last year Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffer signed a medical cannabis bill into law; it legalized the possession and use of cannabis extracts that has at least at least 15% CBD (cannabidiol), and no more than 5% THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or THCA (tetrahydrocannabinol acid), but only for those with epilepsy.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this year, 87% of voters in Iowa support legalizing cannabis for medical purposes, with just 11% opposed. Support for legalizing recreational cannabis is split evenly, 47% to 47%, with the remaining 6% undecided.


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