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Virginia’s lawyer common is inviting state lawmakers to a “Cannabis Summit” subsequent month as speak about advancing marijuana decriminalization and other reforms in the course of the 2020 legislative session picks up.

Officials from other states that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis will speak at the occasion, as will academics who study the situation.

“This upcoming Common Assembly Session policymakers will be taking into consideration legislation associated to cannabis use in the Commonwealth,” an invitation states. “This summit is developed to improved inform these discussions and supply perspectives from states that have implemented comparable adjustments at the state level.”

“The summit will consist of four panels of specialists from about the nation to speak on the following subjects associated to cannabis policy: decriminalization of marijuana, social equity, regulating CBD &amp Hemp solutions, pathways towards legalization by way of legislative efforts and other subjects that will improved inform the upcoming legislative operate,” reads the invitation sent out by the lawyer general’s workplace, which was very first reported by The Virginia Mercury.

Lawyer Common Mark Herring (D) stated final month that the legislature will very first move to pass a cannabis decriminalization bill—something that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) had campaigned on and talked about in his State of the State address.

Lawmakers will then “get to operate on a bigger study about how and when we could move toward legal and regulated adult use,” Herring stated.

“Criminalizing marijuana possession is not functioning. It is needlessly making criminals, saddling folks with convictions and costing taxpayers millions every single year,” the lawyer common wrote in an op-ed for the Virginian-Pilot this week. “The social and human expenses are tremendous, and the weight of the method falls disproportionately on African Americans and folks of colour. There are smarter, improved techniques we can manage cannabis and that starts with decriminalizing straightforward possession of little amounts, addressing previous convictions and moving towards legal, regulated adult use.”

The probabilities of finding cannabis reform policies by way of the Common Assembly considerably enhanced right after this month’s election, which saw Democrats reclaim manage of each chambers for the very first time in decades.

Accordingly, a lawmaker prefiled a cannabis decriminalization bill this week that would make possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana punishable by a maximum $50 civil penalty.

The announcement of the Cannabis Summit, which will take location in Richmond on December 11, is a further signal that political help for reforming Virginia’s marijuana laws is powerful. And even though Northam has not endorsed adult-use legalization, the inclusion of that situation in panel discussions indicates that decriminalization is just the starting of the conversation. Advocates are also pushing the state to expand its restricted health-related cannabis plan.

“The lawyer general’s public help for advancing proof-primarily based cannabis policy, coupled with the current formation of the Virginia Cannabis Caucus, set the stage for a robust and unprecedented exploration of genuine-planet experiences with decriminalization, legalization and regulation in other states,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, told The Virginia Mercury.

NORML honored Herring with its “Vanguard Award” as aspect of its national conference in September.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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