Marijuana has been in the decriminalization process since 1973 with many states over the years passing laws to either authorize the use of marijuana or prohibit it. It is time to stop treating marijuana like a deadly drug, when science and public opinion agree that it is relatively safe for adult recreational and medical use. With recreational and medical marijuana on the verge of nationwide legalization, marijuana growers and dispensaries are popping up everywhere.

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A bill introduced to the General Assembly would legalize marijuana use for anyone 21 years old and up.

Del. Steve Heretick from Hampton Roads introduced HB2371 and posted a video to his YouTube account explaining why he supports the measure.

In the video, Heretick recalls some of the founding fathers of the United States who were from Virginia and compares the current law to Prohibition.

“I stand in the shadow of Patrick Henry and George Wythe and George Washington and James Madison,” Heretick said. “The architects of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution and more importantly our Bill of Rights which establishes our rights as citizens to stand against government overreach.”

Heretick said Prohibition’s failure and ultimate repeal should be a lesson for making marijuana illegal.

The bill would make the manufacture, sell, possession and use of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older.

“About 100 years ago, well-intended citizens decided it would be a good idea of public policy to make illegal a common drug that most Americans used. That experiment was known as Prohibition,” Heretick said. “That experiment, which failed ultimately as we all know, criminalized the otherwise lawful conduct that millions of Americans used every day. The same thinking and the same stereotypes have gone into the criminalization of marijuana.”

The Virginia Pilot reported the bill would allow Virginia residents to keep three mature plants and three immature plants as well as seedlings for growing.

“For many, many years, individuals in our community have lost their careers, their futures and sometimes there freedom by simply possessing and using marijuana,” Heretick said.

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