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Legalizing Weed: 7 Quotes From Lawmakers After Marijuana Failed to Become Decriminalized in Virginia

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 05:35 PM

After years of legislative debate and a poll showing that 7 out of 10 Virginians approve of legalizing possession of small amounts of weed — and a few marijuana policy bills introduced into this year's session — Virginia lawmakers failed to approve all but HB 1445.

The new medical cannabis oil law will provide extremely limited relief to those suffering from specific health problems, but does not provide for in-state access.

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Here are some quotes from lawmakers on the topic.

1. "We have legislated fear of a plant into our criminal code."
Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, after his bill, SB 686, decriminalizing pot died Jan. 28, 2015 on a party-line 9-5 vote to the state Senate Courts of Justice Committee

2. "I was the only one who was here in the late '70s that voted to essentially decriminalize less than half an ounce. They said then that if you pass this, essentially it was going to be the end of western civilization. It's been 35 years, and we're still kicking."
Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Springfield, a supporter of Ebbin's bill, said Saslaw, to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee

3. "I think it's important to note this bill does not legalize marijuana."
Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, on introducing Senate Bill 686, which would have made simple possession a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

Despite the state of Virginia passing on decriminalizing the possession of marijuana, the Senate voted 37-1 in favor of HB 1445, which allowed the use of marijuana oils for epilepsy. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the bill into law on Feb. 26, 2015.

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4.
"This is common sense. It is the right thing to do. And this, in fairness, is what elected officials ought to do – to help people's lives."
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, at the signing of a bill into law that provides limited legal protection to those suffering from intractable epilepsy that are taking low-THC marijuana for treatment. House Bill 1445 and Senate Bill 1235 decriminalize the use of cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil by patients who suffer from persistent epileptic seizures. The bills contained an emergency clause and took effect immediately.

5. "This bill is a triumph of science over fear."
Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Burke, the chief sponsor of SB 1235

6. "If the science shows that we can better individuals' lives by the use of marijuana and the oils, then I am always open to that."
Gov. Terry McAuliffe

7. "Our goal is that if you have intractable epilepsy or your kid has it, and you get caught with this oil, we don’t want you to have a criminal record."
Delegate Dave Albo, R-Springfield, the chief sponsor of HB 1445, on passing legislation that works under federal prohibitions on the production and distribution of such oils

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After years of legislative debate and a poll showing that 7 out of 10 Virginians approve of legalizing possession of small amounts of weed — and a few marijuana policy bills introduced recently — Virginia lawmakers failed to approve all but HB 1445. Here are some quotes from lawmakers on the topic.
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2015-35-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 05:35 PM
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