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Group fears decriminalizing marijuana in Virginia will target people of color

'Lawmakers cannot claim progress on marijuana reform'
Posted at 10:22 PM, Feb 15, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. – As both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed bills that would decriminalize simple possession of marijuana, some believe lawmakers aren't going far enough in the push to decriminalize the drug.

Attendees of the Marijuana Reform for All Rally at the state capitol Saturday said the proposals to decriminalize marijuana possession will still impact communities of color at a higher rate.

"Lawmakers cannot claim progress on marijuana reform while still knowing that decriminalization will only lead to greater racial disparities,” Ashna Khanna with the ACLU of Virginia said.

The bills in the General Assembly would allow juveniles to face charges for possession

The assembled said fully legalizing weed is the most equitable way to solve the problem.

"Let's use resources that we already have in place as a method for decriminalization instead making or creating more ways to make money off human life," Zenobia Bey, a psychologist who spoke at the rally said.

Democrats believe decriminalizing marijuana is the best first step while others in the party want to look at fully legalizing the drug in the years to come.

However, critics believe the changes will lead to increased drug use and crime.