Could Marijuana Become Legal in Virginia?

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jan 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-20 19:17:40-05

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- It is a substance that President Obama has said is "no more" dangerous than alcohol.

And it is a drug Colorado and Seattle recently made legal.

The issue of decriminalizing marijuana was on display at the General Assembly Monday, with nearly 100 activists lobbying lawmakers.

"It is for healing," Alicia Robinson, a 28 year old Richmond resident told CBS 6 - admitting she uses the drug. "I feel it is perfectly fine to help with nausea or help with anything like that," Robinson added.

Supporting Robinson were members of the Northern VA NAACP. Shirley Ginwright said marijuana disproportionately impacts African Americans in Virginia - increasing poverty and fewer job opportunities.

"Once they get a criminal charge or drugs they cannot get any type of government assistance," Ginwright said.

But the odds of Virginia looking like Colorado anytime soon are slim. There are no proposed bills in the General Assembly aimed at decriminalizing the drug.

Governor Terry McAuliffe indicated Monday he had no plans to change current law.

"As Governor I got to support the laws that we have on the books today," McAuliffe said.

Attorney General Mark Herring indicated he wanted to see how other states act before Virginia considers changes.

"Before Virginia goes down that path I think we need to see what the experience is in those states," Herring said.

But the reality of politics on Capitol Square isn't deterring 57 -year-old Franco Myers, who says the fight for legal pot continues.

"It is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco and I think I'm a big enough adult to make that choice," Myers said.