Virginia NORML 2020 Voter Guide

A survey was sent to all City Council, Town Council, Mayor, and Commonwealth’s Attorney candidates for the November 3 Election. Below is the grading scale used for based on their answers. Consideration for endorsement requires an A grade.

Candidates, submit your response to the Virginia NORML 2020 Candidate Survey or email intern@virginianorml.org for assistance.

For media inquiries, please contact jennmichelle@norml.org.

 

ABBREVIATION KEY

AU Adult Use
MU Medical Use
DE Decriminalization
EX Expungement

 

GRADING SCALE

A     EF+AU+MU+DE+EX
B     EF+MU+DE+EX or EF+AU+MU+DE
C     EF+MU+DE
D     EF or MU or DE
F     none

 

QUESTIONS

  

Ending Federal Prohibition (EF)

Over three dozen US states and territories, including Virginia, are regulating marijuana for medical and/or adult-use, despite marijuana’s federal illegality. Ending federal prohibition would alleviate the tension between these states and the US government and allow states to set their own policies free from federal interference. Do you support or oppose ending the federal prohibition of marijuana?

Legalizing Responsible Adult-use (AU)

Legalizing the responsible adult-use of marijuana provides states the opportunity to take marijuana off the street corner and place it behind an age-verified counter to better provide for consumer and public safety and prevent youth access. Taxing and regulating the adult-use of marijuana also provides economic stimulus through job creation and tax revenue. Do you support or oppose legalizing and regulating the responsible use of marijuana by adults?

Physician-authorized Medical Cannabis (MU)

Over three dozen US states and territories, including Virginia, regulate doctor-recommended medical cannabis, and all but two states now allow for some use of medical cannabis or its derivatives. Virginia’s is not a state-legal model, rather it operates by affording participants an affirmative defense. Virginia also restrict products to only those that can be compounded from cannabis extracts and dispensed by a cannabis-specific pharmacy. Do you support or oppose legalizing the use of physician-authorized medical cannabis?

Marijuana Decriminalization (DE)

Over three quarters of Virginians, including a majority in every demographic, support fines not crimes for simple marijuana possession. Marijuana may be decriminalized by substituting a civil penalty in place of existing criminal penalties at the state level. Examples of civil penalties are fines, citations, or community service. Do you support or oppose decriminalizing the simple possession of marijuana?

Expungement of Past Convictions (EX)

The prohibition of marijuana allows for the disproportionate criminalization of black and brown Virginians, despite similar rates of consumption across all races and ethnicities. Currently, Virginia is at a 20 year high in marijuana related arrests costing us $100 million in enforcement. The impacts of marijuana criminalization are far reaching and include long-lasting collateral consequences well beyond the criminal charge. Do you support the automatic expungement of non-violent marijuana possession convictions?

 

LOCAL CANDIDATES

   

Jorge Amselle (Warren County Sheriff)  Endorsed
Political Party: Democratic
Legislative History: N/A
A​: EF/AU/MU/DE/EX

Koran Saines (Sterling District Supervisor)  Endorsed
Political Party: Democratic, incumbent
Legislative History: N/A
A: EF/AU/MU/DE/EX

Conrad Schesventer (Virginia Beach City Council)
Political Party: Libertarian
Legislative History: N/A
A​: EF/AU/MU/DE/EX

Crystal Robens (Hanover Board of Supervisors- Beaverdam)
Political Party: Democrat
Legislative History: N/A
A: EF/AU/MU/DE/EX

Scott Williams (Sheriff for York County-Poquoson)
Political Party: Independent
Legislative History: N/A
A: EF/AU/MU/DE/EX