RELEASE: March 31, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
FAIRFAX, VA – Candidate for Lt. Governor Sean Perryman applauded Governor Northam’s newly announced amendments to the bill to legalize cannabis in Virginia on Wednesday. Virginia will be the 15th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use and the first state in the South to right the historic wrongs of prohibition and enforcement.
“The amended cannabis legalization bill is a big step forward in our pursuit of racial justice,” said Perryman. “We can’t understate how much the Governor came through on the side of progress. By moving up the date for legalization of simple possession from January 1st of 2024 to July 1st of this year, allowing for home cultivation to also start on July 1st, speeding up expungements and the sealing of criminal records to start as soon as possible, and providing labor protections for workers who seek to unionize in the cannabis industry, Governor Northam has greatly improved the legalization bill passed by the General Assembly this session and delivered on the promises of equity and justice.”
“We need to acknowledge the hard work of the legislators and marijuana justice advocates who have successfully lobbied for these amendments,” continued Perryman. “Without their expertise and persistence, we would not have been able to move up the legalization timeline, which would have prolonged the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis laws against Black and brown Virginians.”
“That being said, the amended bill certainly isn’t perfect. For example, the new open container provision will give law enforcement another pretext to unnecessarily stop and search minority Virginians, undermining the integrity of the pretextual policing bill that was recently passed. There will be a big opportunity to further tweak this legislation next year, and from now until that time comes, we must keep up the pressure on our lawmakers to do the right thing for marginalized communities.”
Of course, there is so much more we must do in the realm of criminal justice reform to bring equity to our Commonwealth. We must fight to end cash bail, end mandatory sentencing minimums, end qualified immunity, defelonize all drugs so we can treat addiction as a public health crisis, and invest in mental health, housing, and education instead of more jails, prisons, and police.”
Perryman has years of experience fighting for racial equity and criminal justice reform at the local community level, and has been the clear leader on criminal justice reform policy in the race for Lieutenant Governor. The campaign has been endorsed by the Commonwealth’s Attorneys of Fairfax County, Hampton, and Newport News, each citing Perryman’s vision and expertise on issues of criminal justice.
Sean Perryman is President Emeritus of the Fairfax County Chapter of the NAACP, a technology public policy advocate, attorney, and former congressional investigator. If elected he would become one of the youngest Lt. Governors in Virginia history.
To learn more visit: perrymanforvirginia.com