PORTSMOUTH — Authorizing the retail sale of marijuana in Virginia will assist curb crime, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi advised attendees of a hashish convention held Wednesday in Portsmouth.
“We will see a reduction in violence” if marijuana gross sales grow to be authorized, mentioned Fatehi, one among two Hampton Roads prosecutors who have been among the many many advocates talking in favor of legalizing marijuana gross sales within the state.
The daylong occasion — High Tide Cannabis Summit — was held on the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel, with classes specializing in prison justice reform, the enterprise of promoting hashish, utilizing marijuana for medicinal functions, find out how to develop it and find out how to spot wholesome crops.
At the prison justice reform session, the highest prosecutors from Portsmouth and Norfolk advised attendees they imagine Virginia ought to enable marijuana to be bought legally. They additionally imagine that individuals serving time for marijuana crimes within the commonwealth ought to be resentenced, and people with such crimes on their data ought to be allowed to have them expunged.
Fatehi, who was elected final November and took workplace in January, believes permitting marijuana to be bought legally will probably be just like when the prohibition of alcohol gross sales resulted in 1933.
“When we legalized alcohol, the violence stopped,” he mentioned.
The violence surrounding marijuana is basically attributable to the truth that it’s a money enterprise and an unlawful enterprise, Fatehi mentioned. Just final week, his workplace concluded prosecuting a case wherein a Norfolk man was killed and his girlfriend was severely wounded by two males who broke into their house as a result of they mistakenly believed he was a marijuana seller and had some huge cash.
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Virginia legalized the leisure use of marijuana final summer season, making it authorized for adults 21 or older to own as much as one ounce of the drug with no intent to distribute. Adults are additionally allowed to develop as much as 4 marijuana crops per family however public consumption of marijuana stays unlawful.
However, the power to legally buy marijuana from a retailer for leisure use continues to be a methods off. Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates killed laws that will have allowed for restricted retail gross sales to start this yr.
Stephanie Morales, who has served as Portsmouth’s commonwealth’s legal professional for the previous seven years, mentioned she needs to see crimes involving marijuana possession expunged from folks’s data in order that it’s now not an impediment for them.
Morales believes it’s an problems with equity. While research have proven marijuana use is unfold evenly amongst races and ethnicities, these charged and convicted are disproportionately Black and Hispanic, she mentioned.
Fatehi, Morales and Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover — one other speaker on the occasion — urged attendees to become involved and vote in the event that they wish to see change.
“We have to unite,” Morales mentioned. “We have to be ready, we have to be committed and we have to be organized. I welcome all of you to join up and fight with us.”
Jane Harper, email@example.com