By Siona Peterous
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – Marijuana legalization advocates will come to Richmond for a conference on Sunday and Monday to push for legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and allow its recreational use.
The Virginia 2018 Cannabis Conference is organized by National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The Washington-based nonprofit works throughout the country to push for decriminalization of marijuana, which it says would undercut the black market for the drug.
Jenn Michelle Pedini, president of NORML's Virginia chapter, will open the conference Sunday morning at the Marriott Richmond Downtown, 555 E. Canal St. The program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., will feature a series of speakers.
The keynote speaker will be John Hudak, author of "Marijuana: A Short History." Hudak is deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution.
Closing remarks will be made by Del. Ben Cline, a Republican from Rockbridge County, and by NORML's national outreach director, Kevin Mahmalji.
The speakers will prepare the attendees for a day of lobbying at the state Capitol on Monday. The marijuana legalization advocates will hold meetings with legislators in the morning and then attend the sessions of the Senate and House.