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Delegate introduces bill to legalize marijuana in Virginia

Delegate Steve Heretick, who represents parts of Norfolk and Portsmouth, wants the Virginia General Assembly to allow recreational and medical uses of pot in the state.

A state delegate from Hampton Roads introduced a bill Wednesday that would legalize marijuana in Virginia.

Delegate Steve Heretick represents parts of Norfolk and Portsmouth. He's been an advocate for marijuana reform since taking office in 2016. He's continuing his push in the Virginia General Assembly to legalize the drug's use in the state.

House Bill 2371 would legalize marijuana for purchase and consumption by adults 21 years of age for medical or recreational purposes.

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"The time has come for adults to have the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to consume marijuana in the privacy of their homes," said Delegate Heretick.

The bill would set up a regulatory framework that would allow for the cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of marijuana and its products throughout the Commonwealth to adults 21 years of age or older. The bill would also allow the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to issue licenses for cultivation and retail distribution of marijuana as well as provide for limited home cultivation for personal use.

Heretick introduced a similar bill to decriminalize marijuana. If approved, this bill would get rid of criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and replace it with a small civil fine.

Jesse Scaccia, of the pro-pot organization, Virginia NORML, agrees it’s time to get weed off the streets and behind counters.

“There has really been a national and cultural brainwashing when it comes to marijuana, but the facts and the signs are really clear that it is so much safer than say alcohol for our communities," said Scaccia. "The facts and the research are on our side, we are very lucky that there are 10 states ahead of us with adult regulated use so that’s essentially ten case studies."