Marijuana legalization might have broad support among Virginia voters—but the state’s 2021 elections are revealing significant partisan divides on the issue with candidates vying for public office.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an adult-use legalization bill into law last in April, and it took effect last week. Despite public support for the policy change, however, GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and Republican attorney general contender Jason Miyares have been seriously critical of the reform. And their Democratic opponents are seizing on that stance.
Terry McAuliffe, the party’s nominee for governor after previously serving the state in that role from 2014-2018, said on Friday that the “vast majority of Virginians support legal cannabis, but extreme Republicans are determined to make it illegal again.”
The vast majority of Virginians support legal cannabis, but extreme Republicans are determined to make it illegal again.
Yet another example of how Glenn Youngkin and the GOP are out of touch with Virginia.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 1, 2021
State Attorney General Mark Herring similarly blasted his opponent, Del. Jason Miyares (R), for voting against legalization this session along with the vast majority of other Republican members of the state legislature. The AG, who pushed for ending cannabis prohibition ahead of Northam and many other officials in the state, described the policy as “the simplest, most common-sense criminal justice reform.”
My Republican opponent voted against marijuana legalization, even the simplest, most common-sense criminal justice reform.
Not only do I support marijuana legalization, but I support expanding opportunities for record expungement.
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) July 1, 2021
“Not only do I support marijuana legalization, but I support expanding opportunities for record expungement,” Herring said.
More than two-thirds of adults in the Commonwealth (68 percent) favor adult-use legalization, including a slim majority (51