Richmond, Va: Virginia NORML today reiterated its call that state lawmakers expeditiously move forward in 2021 with legislation legalizing and regulating the adult-use marijuana market.
The organization reaffirmed its support for legalization following preliminary reports by the City of Alexandria of potentially tainted marijuana products. Thus far, however, those reports have yet to be substantiated by analytical testing.
Nonetheless, NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as Virginia NORML Executive Director, said that concerns over the quality and purity of cannabis available on the illicit market reinforce the need for legalization and licensing of the adult-use market.
"Ceding control of the marijuana market to unregulated criminal enterprises in no way provides for public or consumer safety," Pedini said. "Let's be clear: legalization neither creates nor normalizes the marijuana market. This market already exists in Virginia and is widespread. But today this market remains underground and those involved in it largely remain unaccountable. They don't pay taxes, they don’t check IDs, and they don't test the purity of their product. By contrast, legalization and regulation provides oversight regarding who may legally operate in said markets and provides guidelines so that those who do can engage in best practices -- ensuring that the market is safe and transparent."
Delegate Stephen Heretick (D-79) added, "Just like alcohol prohibition gave rise to the illicit production of dangerous 'bathtub gin,' marijuana prohibition provides bad actors, not licensed businesses, the opportunity to fulfill consumers' demand. This is why we need to displace this illicit market with one that is governed by common sense regulations and controls."