Marijuana advocates in Virginia are ramping up the strain on lawmakers to deliver legalization to the commonwealth.

The state’s chapter of NORML on Tuesday issued a call for legislators to maneuver ahead “expeditiously” with a invoice to legalize leisure pot use for adults.

“Ceding control of the marijuana market to unregulated criminal enterprises in no way provides for public or consumer safety,” Virginia NORML government director Jenn Michelle Pedini mentioned. “Let’s be clear: legalization neither creates nor normalizes the marijuana market. This market already exists in Virginia and is widespread. But today this market remains underground and those involved in it largely remain unaccountable. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t check IDs, and they don’t test the purity of their product. By contrast, legalization and regulation provides oversight regarding who may legally operate in said markets and provides guidelines so that those who do can engage in best practices — ensuring that the market is safe and transparent.”

In addition to serving as government director of the Virginia chapter, Pedini can also be NORML’s growth director.

The assertion from the nation’s main marijuana advocacy group comes after town of Alexandria, Virginia issued a warning to residents about doubtlessly altered marijuana following 4 overdoses within the space. The metropolis mentioned that “[one] person died, and the other three were revived with Narcan (naloxone), suggesting that the marijuana may have been mixed with opioids.”

“While use of any illegal drug is dangerous, City officials are urging residents to be especially cautious given these recent overdoses,” the city said earlier this week.

Pedini and different advocates have assist amongst some key Virginia leaders. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, introduced his assist for legalization a 12 months in the past, saying it was “time to move toward legal, regulated adult use.” 

Herring had beforehand mentioned that he meant to run for governor of Virginia subsequent 12 months, however final month he mentioned he was backing away from these plans and would as an alternative search re-election as legal professional normal.

Decriminalization in Virginia

In the spring, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed laws as a part of a sturdy felony justice bundle that decriminalized marijuana.

“Every Virginian deserves access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” Northam mentioned on the time. “These bills combat mass incarceration, increase support for returning citizens, and ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have a meaningful second chance. I thank the General Assembly for working with us to build a more just and inclusive Commonwealth.”

The laws also included a provision for the state’s General Assembly to nominate “four members of the Governor’s Cabinet to lead a work group consisting of government officials, policy experts, healthcare professionals, and citizen leaders to study legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana and submit a report by November 30, 2020.”

Another Virginia Democrat, Delegate Stephen Heretick, joined NORML’s name for legalization this week.

“Just like alcohol prohibition gave rise to the illicit production of dangerous ‘bathtub gin,’ marijuana prohibition provides bad actors, not licensed businesses, the opportunity to fulfill consumers’ demand,” he mentioned. “This is why we need to displace this illicit market with one that is governed by common sense regulations and controls.”

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