WSET stopped by on Tuesday afternoon to speak about the bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Garrett to remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list. The issue of marijuana legalization is a complicated one that should be debated and resolved by the people of Virginia. I believe most all issues are best left to the government which is the nearest to the people. Individual states can decide these questions for themselves and I applaud the federalist impulse and recognition of Virginia’s 10th Amendment rights of this bill.
The interview with WSET was wide-ranging one. There are many dimensions to the debate over marijuana policy. The Commonwealth’s Attorney applies the laws as they are written. The people’s representatives in Richmond write, repeal and amend the laws. None the less, the Commonwealth’s Attorney does have the ability to exercise some discretion in how those laws are applied. I will treat each individual on a case-by-case basis. Currently in almost all simple possession of marijuana cases the Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office does not seek any jail time and, instead, looks only for a fine.
Until such time as the law is changed it must be applied and obeyed. The Rule of Law requires us to respect and uphold laws until they are changed by the proper constitutional process. While the law must be respected, it is important that your Commonwealth’s Attorney have the experience and the leadership ability to properly exercise her powers of discretion in cases of importance to the community. As your Commonwealth’s Attorney I will be ready to do so on day one. -Bethany