A common cliché for overcoming a difficult obstacle asks, “how do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “one bite at a time.” In Virginia politics, the tough question facing cannabis policy reform advocates is, “how do you change the minds of political Elephants?" The answer is, “one law at a time.” Although progress in cannabis reform has been slow in Virginia, two recent bills signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe are significant signs that change is coming, and quicker than ever before.
The closure of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with an increase in larceny, property crimes, and other criminal activities, according to data published in the Journal of Urban Economics. “[W]e find no evidence that closures decreased crime,” authors wrote. “Instead, we find a significant relative increase in crime around closed dispensaries.”