Virginia, just legalize marijuana already

Virginia Democrats are making headway in the efforts to reform the commonwealth’s criminal justice system, even if, on issues such as qualified immunity for police officers, it takes a couple of tries to get moving in the right direction.

But they are still not ready to fully embrace one issue: marijuana legalization.

Virginia did enact marijuana decriminalization. While possession and consumption remain illegal, getting caught now merits a $25 civil fine. Not everyone was pleased with the move.

The Virginia ACLU led a coalition opposed to decriminalization. In a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam (D), the groups said decriminalization “does nothing to end racist pretextual stops by police.” Instead, the coalition urged an end to marijuana prohibition.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus put legalizing marijuana on its listof priorities for the special session. And there’s even a bill to achieve part of that goal. Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Prince William), who is running for governor, is the chief patron of HB 5141, a measure that would legalize “simple possession of marijuana.”

While it does away with the civil penalty, prevents law enforcement from using the hint or suspicion of marijuana use to conduct searches and seizures and more, it doesn’t end prohibition. [Read More @ The Washington Post]