Mark Herring on Drugs
Cannabis reform: Criminalizing marijuana possession is not working. It is needlessly creating criminals, saddling people with convictions and costing taxpayers millions each year. The social and human costs are tremendous, and the weight of the system falls disproportionately on African Americans and people of color. There are smarter, better ways we can handle cannabis and that begins with decriminalizing simple possession of small amounts, addressing past convictions and moving towards legal, regulated adult use.
Expanding opportunities for record expungement: Virginia is one of the nation's least forgiving and most restrictive states for individuals who have earned the opportunity to have old convictions and charges expunged from their records. Too often a relatively minor charge or conviction, such as marijuana or alcohol possession, becomes a permanent stain.
Herring called for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, action to address past convictions for simple possession, and a move towards legal and regulated adult use in Virginia.
"While other states are moving to a more sensible approach to cannabis, Virginia is still moving in the wrong direction. It makes absolutely no sense," said Attorney General Herring. "Even more Virginians, especially young people and people of color, are being saddled with criminal records that can drastically affect their lives. Now is the time to put a stop to this costly, unfair, and ineffective approach, and to pursue a better, smarter, fairer course."
Because he understands that we can't just arrest our way out of this problem, he has relentlessly pursued a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes education, prevention, and treatment alongside enforcement against dealers and traffickers who profit off addiction.
Attorney General Herring launched an unprecedented five-point plan to address the crisis which includes legislation, education, prevention, enforcement, and collaboration. He was recognized with the "Bronze Key Award" for his commitment and effectiveness in addressing substance abuse.