just legalize it already

80-year-old Republican leads 

Virginia’s marijuana

decriminalization fight.

by The Raw Story:

Virginian lawmakers will have a unique opportunity to end criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana in their state when the 2011 Virginian General Assembly Session convenes on Wednesday, January 12.

Surprisingly enough, 80-year-old Republican Delegate Harvey Morgan, an assistant clinical professor of pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University, is leading the charge to decriminalize marijuana possession.

Legislation proposed by Morgan, known as House Bill 1443, would replace the criminal fine for possession with a civil penalty and eliminate the 30-day jail sentence and criminal record that would follow conviction. The bill would not change penalties for the manufacture or distribution of marijuana. It would also continue to require drug screening and education for minors convicted of marijuana possession.

Morgan introduced a similar bill in January of 2010, but the legislation never made it out of committee in the 2010 General Assembly Session. “When you consider that research indicates that variations in penalties—including jail time—have no discernible effect on the prevalence or frequency of marijuana use, making simple possession a civil rather than a criminal offense makes sense.”

With seven bills introduced to the General Assembly to outlaw “synthetic marijuana” — such as popular legal smoking blends like “Spice” and “K2” — the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORMAL) says that “a robust drug policy debate… is virtually guaranteed” in the 2011 Virginian General Assembly Session.

The Raw Story

More bipartsian support to decriminalize marijuana. It’s funny that an eighty year old Republican is leading the fight to decriminalization. Great news for the movement.