Marijuana advocates in Virginia are ramping up the stress on lawmakers to convey 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 management of the marijuana market to unregulated felony enterprises on no account gives for public or shopper security,” Virginia NORML govt director Jenn Michelle Pedini stated. “Let’s be clear: legalization neither creates nor normalizes the marijuana market. This market already exists in Virginia and is widespread. However in the present day this market stays underground and people concerned in it largely stay unaccountable. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t examine IDs, and so they don’t take a look at the purity of their product. Against this, legalization and regulation gives oversight concerning who might legally function in stated markets and gives tips in order that those that do can have interaction in finest practices — guaranteeing that the market is secure and clear.”

Along with serving as govt director of the Virginia chapter, Pedini can be NORML’s improvement director.

The assertion from the nation’s main marijuana advocacy group comes after the town of Alexandria, Virginia issued a warning to residents about probably altered marijuana following 4 overdoses within the space. The town stated that “[one] individual died, and the opposite three had been revived with Narcan (naloxone), suggesting that the marijuana might have been combined with opioids.”

“Whereas use of any unlawful drug is harmful, Metropolis officers are urging residents to be particularly cautious given these latest overdoses,” the city said earlier this week.

Pedini and different advocates have assist amongst some key Virginia leaders. Virginia Lawyer Basic Mark Herring, a Democrat, introduced his assist for legalization a yr in the past, saying it was “time to maneuver towards authorized, regulated grownup use.” 

Herring had beforehand stated that he supposed to run for governor of Virginia subsequent yr, however final month he stated he was backing away from these plans and would as a substitute search re-election as lawyer basic.

Decriminalization in Virginia

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

“Each Virginian deserves entry to a good and equitable felony justice system,” Northam stated on the time. “These payments fight mass incarceration, enhance assist for returning residents, and make sure that those that have paid their debt to society have a significant second likelihood. I thank the Basic Meeting for working with us to construct a extra simply and inclusive Commonwealth.”

The laws also included a provision for the state’s Basic Meeting to nominate “4 members of the Governor’s Cupboard to steer a piece group consisting of presidency officers, coverage specialists, healthcare professionals, and citizen leaders to check legalizing the sale and private use of marijuana and submit a report by November 30, 2020.”

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

“Similar to alcohol prohibition gave rise to the illicit manufacturing of harmful ‘bathtub gin,’ marijuana prohibition gives unhealthy actors, not licensed companies, the chance to meet customers’ demand,” he stated. “Because of this we have to displace this illicit market with one that’s ruled by widespread sense rules and controls.”