Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam wants to decriminalize marijuana - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam wants to decriminalize marijuana

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam wants to decriminalize marijuana. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam wants to decriminalize marijuana. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam says that it's time to decriminalize marijuana. 

"As a doctor, I’m becoming increasingly convinced by the data showing potential health benefits of marijuana, such as pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD," Northam, a Democrat, wrote in a blog post on Monday. "By decriminalizing it, our researchers can better study the plant so doctors can more effectively prescribe drugs made from it."

Northam, who is also running for governor this year, says drug laws need to be reformed and that decriminalizing marijuana is a good place to start.

He also says that the money spent on enforcing marijuana laws could be better spent on rehabilitation.

His plan includes:

  • Increased support for substance abuse treatment programs
  • Continuing the restoration of rights of those who have paid their debts to society
  • Ending the practice of suspending a driver’s license simply because a person can’t afford to pay court costs
  • Raise felon larceny threshold to $500
  • Invest in mental health in jails and prisons
  • Encourage community-based alternatives to juvenile correctional centers
  • End the school-to-prison pipeline

"We must continue to expand access to new substance abuse treatment options and drug courts," Northam wrote. "Our administration has made progress in combating the opioid epidemic, but with three Virginians dying each day from accidental overdose we can’t afford to slow down."

Northam's post comes as the General Assembly considers bills to ease rules on penalties of possessing marijuana as well as expanding medical uses of marijuana. 

Click here to read all of Northam's post, "A More Fair And Just Virginia."

Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12

Powered by Frankly