The call from the state’s top lawyer to decriminalize marijuana possession could be enough to break the question free from the General Assembly committees where it has died in recent years, politicians and lobbyists who follow the issue say.
Attorney General Mark Herring said in a Sunday op-ed essay in the Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot that racial disparities in enforcement and the number of young lives ruined mean it is time to stop putting people in jail for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
“I’m wide open to looking at it,” said Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, who as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s public safety panel keeps an eye on law enforcement issues.
“I could see handling it like a traffic violation, with a fine,” he said.