Candidate in race for State House District 34 (D) on Tuesday, June 8, 2021
I support legalization and regulation of the responsible use of cannabis by adults. Studies show that cannabis consumption has fewer risks than consumption of other legal and regulated substances, including alcohol. Furthermore, the enforcement of laws against marijuana consumption have disproportionately targeted black and brown communities despite similar consumption rates as white communities.
I support the automatic expungement of records related to non-violent marijuana possession charges for a crime that the Commonwealth has not deemed legal. Citizens should not continue to carry the stigma of an activity that society and our laws no longer deems harmful. And we know that black and brown communities were disproportionately targeted in these arrests and convictions - which further enhances the urgency to automatically expunge.
As of early 2021, only about 9,000 people are registered to participate in the medical cannabis program in Virginia, with only four dispensaries in the state and five additional dispensaries approved to open this year. Nine dispensaries and ~9,000 people is not sufficient to address the needs statewide of medical cannabis users, and current law does not allow for botanical format consumption.