Cannabis laws are experiencing a seismic shift in the Washington region, and the stakes have never been higher.
While Maryland lawmakers mull a 2022 ballot referendum on legalizing adult-use, the D.C. Council is gearing up for a legislative hearing that — barring interference from Congress — could finally bring a recreational market to the District. Meanwhile, the fate of cannabis is up in the air in Virginia as voters prepare to pick a governor in a razor-close race where the frontrunners hold diametrically opposed views on legalization.
Over the last two years, The Outlaw Report has emerged as an essential source for facts-based cannabis reporting in the D.C. region. With that in mind, we’ve decided to form an editorial board that will allow us to weigh in on some of the most important questions on cannabis reform in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
The Editorial Board is an entirely separate entity from our reporting team, which is made up of established journalists with traditional newsroom backgrounds. It does not interfere with the newsroom’s mission of publishing timely, fair and accurate stories. Instead, the board argues for cannabis policy that aligns with our core values of public health, social equity, economic growth, transparency and accountability.
Our first-ever endorsement is for Terry McAuliffe as the next governor of Virginia. The board believes McAuliffe is the best candidate to ensure a rapid rollout of regulated adult-use sales; that the commonwealth’s cannabis market will grow equitably; and that Virginians incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis offenses will be granted clemency without further delay. McAuliffe’s position on cannabis also respects the will of Virginians, who time and time again have expressed strong support for legalization.
The former governor’s views stand in stark contrast with those of Glenn Youngkin, who has expressed disdain for cannabis and a profound ignorance of legalization’s intended purpose. At a campaign event in April, Youngkin said he had “never met anybody who habitually used marijuana and was successful.” He doubled down in an appearance on CNBC in May, describing cannabis legalization as “another problem that’s going to be dumped at my feet.” The businessman has also falsely claimed that “every single state” that has legalized cannabis has seen disappointing revenue, earning him three pinocchios from The Washington Post.
We are confident cannabis laws will continue to be amended in Richmond over the next few years. At this critical juncture, we believe Virginians need and deserve a governor who will speak honestly and authoritatively about legalization while continuing the legacy of the hard-fought cannabis reforms enacted by the General Assembly this year.
— The Editorial Board