Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam outlines plan to decriminalize marijuana

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s Lt. Gov., Ralph Northam, has outlined a plan to decriminalize marijuana.

On an online post by Northam titled “A More Fair And Just Virginia,” he discusses how he feels about Virginia’s current progress and what he believes the Commonwealth needs to work on.

As a doctor, Northam says he is becoming convinced that marijuana has potential health benefits, as shown by data. Such health benefits include pain relief, treatment of PTSD and drug-resistant epilepsy.

In his post, Northam says current sentencing laws hurt people of color disproportionately.

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color,” Northam said. “One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana. African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement - money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

Northam also says that by decriminalizing marijuana, researchers can study the plant in depth so that doctors can effectively prescribe medications from it to patients.

Northam, a Democrat, is running replace Terry McAuliffe as Virginia’s next governor. Northam is running against Tom Perriello (D), a former congressman, as well as republicans Frank Wagner, Ed Gillespie and Corey Stewart.

The primary election for Governor will be on June 13 and the gubernatorial election will be on November 7.Never miss another Facebook post from 8NewsFind 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips toiReport8@wric.com.

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