With a new Democratic majority in the state legislature, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is hoping to make major reforms to the state's cannabis laws.
Herring, who is hosting a cannabis summit on December 11, told Cheddar on Tuesday he is bringing together legislators and experts in an effort to push forward his calls for reform.
"I'm really encouraged about the prospect of actually passing decriminalization in Virginia and the prospect of actually passing a plan to move to legal and regulated adult use," he said.
Herring is hopeful that by providing lawmakers a space to ask questions and address concerns with experts, as well as individuals from states that have already legalized or decriminalized marijuana use, his state can move towards passing new legislation.
Marijuana arrests in Virginia hit a 20-year high in 2018, and enforcement costs the state more than $80 million annually, Herring said.
"In Virginia, an arrest and a criminal conviction stays with you your whole life … That's not fair," he said, noting the disproportionate number of black Virginians arrested for marijuana possession.
But he says he is confident Virginia can move forward "in a historic way."