Virginia Delegate David Englin (D – Arlington) has introduced House Joint Resolution 140, which would research the benefits of selling marijuana at ‘ABC stores’ alongside alcohol. Regulating marijuana like alcohol is popular with some marijuana activists, and unpopular with others. I personally feel that regulating marijuana like alcohol is better than regulating marijuana the way it is now. It’s not perfect, and it’s not the finish line, but at least it would get Virginia out of the current situation it’s in, at least a little bit.
I know there are those out there that disagree, and I always welcome your views in the comments below. Like I’ve said over and over, I’d rather be wrong and facilitate discussion than be right and have the conversation go nowhere. Despite what some ill informed readers believe, I love debate and discussion because I feel like it will help us arrive at common ground. Always have, always will.
Whether you agree with regulating marijuana like alcohol or not, hopefully you can agree with Virginia Delegate David Englin’s basic idea of why marijuana reform is needed in Virginia, “Right now people are smoking marijuana secretly,” said Del. Englin. “They’re spending money on it and it’s going into in to the hands of criminals. This legislation just seeks to find out how much money we could potentially be raising to fund core services for the Commonwealth.”
As always, there’s someone clinging to outdated reefer madness rhetoric. Wayne Frith, of Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) said, “The simple truth is the health implications and public safety implications are horrible with this drug. Somehow we’ve created this myth that marijuana is a harmless play drug and it’s not. It needs to be controlled. To equate it with alcohol and put it o (sic) the general public, I mean what’s next? Selling it at Wal-Mart and having young people steal it? That’s the wrong track to go down,” said Frith.
CBS 6 News got NORML’s perspective on the issue, “Virginia NORML strongly supports Virginia House Resolution 140 to study the potential revenue impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and use of marijuana for adults. Surveys show that young people have easier access to illegal marijuana than they have to alcohol or cigarettes. Why? Because the production and sale of these latter products are regulated and legally limited to adults.” said Spokesperson Sabrina Frederick.
Federick also said, “It’s legalization, regulation, and public education Â coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions Â that most effectively keep mind-altering substances out of the hands of children. Despite more than 70 years of federal prohibition, marijuana is here to stay. It’s time to acknowledge this reality, cease ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises, and put it in the hands of licensed businesses.”