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It's Looking Like Virginia Will Decriminalize Marijuana Possession This Year

A few years ago, decriminalization of marijuana possession seemed out of reach in Virginia. Now, it’s very likely to happen this year.

2020 is the year that Virginia will decriminalize marijuana. That’s what Delegate Mike Mullin of Newport News says. 

“The inequities in administration of marijuana here in Virginia has just been horrible," Mullin says. "It’s just been in many times very racist. So I absolutely think we will decriminalize this year.”

Prosecutors in Virginia are all over the map on this one. Some are critical of decriminalization and some support fully legalizing marijuana.

Mike Doucette is head of the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association, and he says his organization has no official position on this issue. But, he says, he can see the train coming down the tracks. 

“Given the fact that the General Assembly has switched from an R majority to a D majority and the Ds are pretty uniformly talking about decriminalization I can see it coming, yeah,” says Doucette.

Mullin says he would like to see not only decriminalization, but also full legalization. Doucette says that would be a mistake and that Virginia might experience problems with driving under the influence and secondhand smoke.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.