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Could Marijuana Become Legal in Virginia?

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) — It is a substance that President Obama has said is “no more” dangerous than alcohol.

And it is a drug Colorado and Seattle recently made legal.

The issue of decriminalizing marijuana was on display at the General Assembly Monday, with nearly 100 activists lobbying lawmakers.

“It is for healing,” Alicia Robinson, a 28 year old Richmond resident told CBS 6 – admitting she uses the drug. “I feel it is perfectly fine to help with nausea or help with anything like that,” Robinson added.

Supporting Robinson were members of the Northern VA NAACP. Shirley Ginwright said marijuana disproportionately impacts African Americans in Virginia – increasing poverty and fewer job opportunities.

“Once they get a criminal charge or drugs they cannot get any type of government assistance,” Ginwright said.

But the odds of Virginia looking like Colorado anytime soon are slim. There are no proposed bills in the General Assembly aimed at decriminalizing the drug.

Governor Terry McAuliffe indicated Monday he had no plans to change current law.

“As Governor I got to support the laws that we have on the books today,” McAuliffe said.

Attorney General Mark Herring indicated he wanted to see how other states act before Virginia considers changes.

“Before Virginia goes down that path I think we need to see what the experience is in those states,” Herring said.

But the reality of politics on Capitol Square isn’t deterring 57 -year-old Franco Myers, who says the fight for legal pot continues.

“It is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco and I think I’m a big enough adult to make that choice,” Myers said.

41 comments

      • Manalishi

        Why would one capitulate to explain the pitfalls of low personal moral, and ethical standards? If you needed an explanation, then you’ve smoked too much already.

    • Dustin Cavanaugh

      Caffeine is more deadly than marijuana and socially acceptable to give to many toddlers and younger kids. Tell me more about standards. By the way, “standards” are subjective. Caffeine being a drug that is more deadly than THC is a fact. Caffeine is also physically and mentally addictive and has withdrawal symptoms in most people as opposed to marijuana which is only mentally addictive. Now the kicker, marijuana has been proven to save lives as a medication. Caffeine has medicinal qualities but there are no known situations in which it directly saved someone’s life. The big one and the fact I want to refer to is the little girl Charlotte from Colorado. 300 seizures a week to one. Death to a normal life. Tell me more about standards.

  • Daniel Beasley

    I am also old enough to decide for myself. Mass Referendum Voting: Let the voters decide. Get Rid of Christie and McCauliffe.

    • Brion Eduardo

      If you consumed cannabis the night before reporting for work, fine. However, I wouldn’t trust anybody, in any regard, who thinks that smoking a doobie in the evening would impair work performance the next day. Such a person wouldn’t be qualified to leave the pickles off my hamburger, let alone work in the medical profession as a nurse.

    • Stellah

      Nothing is stopping a nurse from doing this now, apart from drug tests at work. And just because something is legal doesn’t mean your employer will allow you to use it even in your personal time. Some companies won’t even hire cigarette smokers due to higher health insurance premiums.

      Honestly I’m more concerned with nurses being tired and overworked than I am with them managing their stress with the occasional beer or puff of weed.

    • Joe

      I’d probably prefer the “high” you over the doting fear mongering you I’m currently exposed to.

      Besides, I’d probably love it if you smoked some and finger painted with my kids, you’d probably relax some.

      PS, we all know you’re not a RN.

    • Jared Sumner

      Do you know how many delegates,doctors,lawyers,real estate agents ,stock brokers scientists and security guards, soccer moms and families smoke pot?
      It’s not a degrading plant, it’s not a gateway drug it, it doesn’t affect your normal life in a bad way. It was only made illegal to protect the investments and the monopoly of the timber and oil industries.
      If it was never made illegal these industries would actually have competition and wouldn’t be able to set their own capitol, they may even have more money than they do now.
      Everything that makes pot bad like the cartels controlling it can be easily fixed by making it legal. You make it legal you have less of a problem on pill abuse, less crime more job opportunities and you wouldn’t be ruining the lives of millions of people for doing nothing wrong.

      I wouldn’t care if a nurse smoked pot because I know she/he can still do their job and act more calmly doing so.

    • Tony

      I wouldn’t mind it the day before or hell 5+ hours before I wouldn’t mind. I know and understand the effects. 98% of America does not, and that’s the issue. Its been in the dark so long that its become a “birch” to change.

    • Awatts

      Wow…a nurse? That means you’ve achieved a higher level of education than most. Having said that, in all of your medical training and experience, how many cases have you been assigned to in which someone needs treatment because of an overdose or any other medical issue resulting from Marijuana? Are you aware that statistically someone overdoses on prescription pills every second of every minute. Thats 1,440 people each day. Fact! You’ll never hear that in the mainstream news…..ever wonder why?! Alcohol is just as bad. Did you know that almost 90% of domestic cases in the United States are linked to Alcohol? Are you aware that drunk drivers kill people? Are you aware that Alcohol withdraw is the leading cause of death in those persons seeking treatment for addiction? Why not open your mind to the possibility that there are actually natural substances
      s on this earth that cure and destroy cancer cells. Ones that treat people and change lives. There are heartbreaking stories from West to East of those denied safe access to safe medicine. Not prescription chemicals that are manufactured in labs and come with devastating side effects. With the utmost respect, I encourage you to think past the lie that we’ve all been taught. I’m not saying that Marijuana has 0 negative effects, I’m simply saying that it is by far safer than Alcohol and prescription chemicals. Blessings:)

  • britt

    LEGALIZE LEGALIZE LEGALIZE!!! I agree with the above statement, drinking the night before isn’t much better ms. Nurse! Legalizing ot foesnt mean you HAVE to smoke it, it means you can without the worry of the feds getting you! Point blank period.

  • Deedee

    Clearly anyone with enough sense to not drink at work will not be high at work with if they want their job…but truly it does not affect you the next day…other having a good night’s sleep and feeling refreshed..to each it’s own…more people act a fool when they drink..even if it is just wine.. people high just chill and don’t bother any one.

  • Brion Eduardo

    “’Before Virginia goes down that path I think we need to see what the experience is in those states,’ Herring said.”

    I hope voters remember Attorney General Mark Herring’s “somebody else should” aversion to leadership when he tries to run for higher office.

  • Neil Alive

    I know nurses who already drink and smoke marijuana the night before work. Prohibition isn’t stopping them.

  • Kammi

    ““As Governor I got to support the laws that we have on the books today,” McAuliffe said.”

    So he’s saying that as governor he won’t be signing any bills that change or remove any existing laws of any kind? What a pathetic liar. Richmond journalists, please do your job and get a straight answer out of our slippery new governor.

    • Shirley Ginwright

      When campaigning in Northern Virginia and speaking to Black leaders, Governor McAuliffe was asked what would he do to decriminalize marijuana because of the disparate number of arrests and incarcerations. He specifically stated that this would be something he would work on. I even offered to assist and he asked that I get in touch with him. Now it seems he has forgotten that statement, but I will follow up with him. When we elect leaders with closed minds, the people suffer but they need to get educated.

  • scott

    Noone is saying marijuana should be used in the workplace or while driving. When the legalization argument comes up everyone always says well they might be high at work or driving. Ridiculous. LEGALIZE IT!!

  • Nelson Savage

    Is this how our Governor speaks? At 21 years old, with no college degree, i have better grammar than my GOVERNOR. That scares me. How is this man supposed to do whats best for us if he can’t even use proper english when talking about one of the most trending topics in the nation? Beyond that; to spit out such a close-minded response is just lazy. Weed IS coming, and if his only response to it is ” As Governor I got to support the laws we have on the books today” then he needs to resign his position because he is not serving his people. He is not even LISTENING to what his people are saying, he is just falling back on what others have done before him. That is not the kind of Governor we need in a state as important as Virginia. Just my two cents.

  • Slain Illuzion

    I was at Lobby Day Yesterday as Owner of The Virginia Hemp Company and Northern VA Head of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition and I will say that the people I spoke with where progressive on Hemp and Cannabis. I am a Prop 215 California patient and it’s is ridiculous VA is running scared about this issue. Historically we are the first Hemp state in the Union and should be leading the way and demonstrating how Cannabis and Hemp Industries should be run. We will be working aggressively this year in bringing about some change and views on the subject.

    After learning about the industry in California it amazes me how many people are still un educated about this plant and I believe the governor will be changing his views real soon about this matter

  • ByGeorge

    Contrasting the Government’s Positioning on Cigarettes versus Pot.
    Smoking is BAD, second hand smoke is BAD, costs to tax payers and
    health care system is BAD. American Lung Association & Cancer Society say “Smoking” is BAD.
    Pot “Smoking” is now, seen even by Obama, as Perfectly Correct
    and Government Sponsored? How? Why?
    A Contrast in Government Correct-Mess Hypocrisy!
    Would love for Media to interview former VA Governor Tim Kaines’/
    “Law Maker’s” pandering stance; then versus now; knowing he always kowtows to Obama, despite his bullying VA Law.
    Funny to catch them step in their own created Piles of IT..
    Kaine, speak to those you are charged to Serve, versus The One
    you actually Serve.
    Cigarettes = BAD!!! Pot = PC GOOD!!!

  • Steel Mill

    Bring it on. I myself do not smoke but from what I see, it has less side effects. With proper regulation it would work, create some jobs and the commonwealth can use the cash. As long as the person that smokes is not hurting anyone than they should decide for themselves.
    Can have the same rules as consuming alcohol, e.g not driving, going to work, etc.

  • jackburton77

    Haha it’s funny how the anti-pot “professional business” persons go right to the worst case scenario. “You don’t want me high, as a nurse, caring for your loved one do you?” Like they’d be FORCED to smoke pot if something was passed.

    You can do that now dummy. Uh so dumb.

  • Adam

    When the penalties are worse than the “drug” or “crime” its a clear indicator that the only purpose of the “drug” being illegal is for the state to profit from penalizing people, it has nothing to do with a health concern. Look at big pharma- theres tons of drugs on the market being over-prescribed to people that can cause death (opiates, Chantix!). Keeping cannabis illegal is a pure profit move by the Feds and States to increase incarceration revenue. Once its proven that the amount of tax dollars brought in by Colorado and Washington legalizing significantly is more than the amount of $$ made by incarcerating, perhaps the laws will change. The Gov’t has caused something harmless to become much more harmful by making it illegal by creating a black market for it, open your eyes America!

  • Nancy Guyton

    Adam I am for the legalization of marijuana and your comment is still the dumbess thing I have read, equal to the nurses statement. There is no incarceration revenue. Taxpayers foot the bill, not the prisoners. Prisons are non profit government facilities. Geesh

    • Brion Eduardo

      Adam is partially correct about the for-profit prisons. It’s true, as you point out, that government doesn’t profit (except possibly from kickbacks to lawmakers) from incarceration and that the cost is actually borne by taxpayers. However, most prisons are now operated and/or owned by corporations such as Corrections Corporation of America. Their contracts with the government generally contain a clause that the prisons remain at or near capacity, or the state faces a penalty. I’d post a link, but I don’t want to steer you to one source when there are so many good ones available. If you want to know more, just google: private prisons.

    • Awatts

      Wrong..you buy your own food by friends and family putting money on your books and you pay the jail $10/day to leave and go to your place of employment should you be on work release. In addition, once convicted of a crime there are fines attached. You must make monthly payments towards your fines in order to pay the $10/day to get out and work.
      Clearly motivated by money.

      • Shirley

        While this might have been the case years ago, most prisons are privately operated are are they do make a profit. The government make money off the phone sustem, which are all collect calls. A percentage of these funds go to tge facility. The medical support is contracted out and a profit is made by reducing or eliminating medication to inmates. Additionnally, educational and rehabilitationprograms have been eliminated. Some prisons are even privately owned, and companies are there to make money or they would not be in business.

  • Storm Crow

    Why should YOU want cannabis legal? Read these! “Marijuana May Slow Alzheimer’s” (WebMD- read this, if nothing else!), “Pot compound seen as tool against cancer” (SFGate) , “An ultra-low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol provides cardioprotection” (PubMed), “Smoked Cannabis Reduces Some Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis” (UCSD), “Marijuana Compound May Help Stop Diabetic Retinopathy” (ScienceDaily), “Marijuana may be Helpful in Lowering Blood Pressure” (BioMedicine) and “Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease treatment” (NewsMedicalNet). There is a LOT more to cannabis than just “getting high”! To learn more about this herbal medicine, run a search for “Granny Storm Crow’s List”- online and on Facebook.

  • Jerry

    The excuses are unbelievable! Anything challenging smoking weed can be compared to drinking alcohol. Legalize it and dry up the cartels pockets and forward that money to the schools!

  • John_Doe

    When they smoked cigarettes and got sick, they sued the tobacco companies. When pharmaceuticals had adverse side effects, they sued the drug companies. Who will they sue when marijuana makes them sick?

  • John_Doe

    “As governor I got to support the laws that we have on the books today” _Terry McAuliffe. Unless, you know, its like procedural stuff in the Gen. Assembly I don’t like, the 2nd Amendment, allowing new coal, nuclear, or oil refineries to be built, or anything else I don’t like or my billionaire backers don’t approve of…

  • Mead

    I think the problem is the separation of people and state. We’ve had some partying governors putting people in jail for partying for a long long time.

  • Dustin Cavanaugh

    Schedule 1. Study after study show it has medicinal uses but still schedule 1? You can’t tell me it isn’t about money.

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