Seeing the cost of enforcing prohibition, the Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam is calling for the decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Reportedly, Virginia spends $67-million annually on marijuana enforcement. Northam says that there are better uses for that money.
The list of political supports of decriminalization is growing throughout Virginia, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch. A study was requested by Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr. regarding whether possessing small amounts of marijuana should still be a crime. Senator Adam Ebbin introduced legislation to decriminalize possession earlier this year. That legislation is on-hold pending the results of the requested study.
Northam said, “As a doctor, I like to make the point to people, over 100 of the medicines we use on a daily basis come from plants. So I think we need to be open-minded about using marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
Northam also said, “Where there is evidence-based data that suggests that marijuana is useful, then I think we should be open-minded.”
In regards to patients Northam comes in contact with that use marijuana for medical reasons, he says that those patients are veterans with PTSD and brain injuries, along with people suffering from multiple sclerosis. They’ve discussed how that they find medical marijuana useful.
Cities like Norfolk are also working on decriminalization legislation. Northam wants to see it happen statewide. Prior to running for governor, Northam was a pediatric neurologist.