Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter on Tuesday to Gov. Ralph Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, asking them to legalize marijuana during the General Assembly’s special session on Aug. 18.
The mayor said this would help increase equity and inclusion in the commonwealth.
“Not only do marijuana arrests comprise a majority of the total arrests in Virginia, but out of those arrests a disproportionate number are of Black people,” Stoney said in the letter. “Let’s not forget the negative impact an arrest and conviction can have on someone’s life, especially when it comes to employment and housing opportunities.”
In addition to legalizing marijuana Stoney’s letter calls for Virginia to:
- Establish a tax system for the recreational use of marijuana and use the money for low-income students.
- Allow automatic expungements for certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felony convictions.
- Provide funding for mental health crisis alerts.
- Establish a statewide law enforcement officer misconduct database.
- Launch a statewide eviction diversion program.
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