Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring might be looking to try on a new campaign slogan: “Purple Haze”.
So goes the story from WTOP as Herring — with elections in 2021 in mind and a blackface scandal of his own to worry about — desperately is trying to shift the narrative away from racist to redemption:
Herring said he believes that prosecuting marijuana possession cases is costing the state a lot of money, which he believes can be better spent elsewhere.
He also believes marijuana cases are needlessly creating criminals and disproportionately affecting African Americans.
“Criminalizing marijuana possession is not working,” Herring said.
Of course, Virginia’s law enforcement professionals have another thing to say about that, indicating that a blanket lift of marijuana laws will impact other drug abuse crisis events in Virginia — heroin and opioid abuse respectively. From WTOP:
Dana Schrad, executive director for the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said her organization cannot support a push to decriminalize the drug.
“It’s a great deal of conflict for law enforcement to have decriminalization at the state level when something is still against the law in federal criminal code,” Schrad said.
Whether Herring’s newfound love of the ‘dankest of the dank’ is heartfelt or half-cut remains to be seen. After all, this was not an issue Herring dared to make a hallmark of his candidacy for Attorney General.
More concerning, of course, is that marijuana legalization is what Herring believes African-American communities want to hear, as if this and not say — better schools or better job opportunities — were the focus of black Virginians.
Perhaps he ought to ask around before pulling an election year stunt two full years before a gubernatorial election? Or better still, do something that might actually have more support in black urban communities rather than white suburban ones?
Alas, these are hard solutions. Ones that politicians shy away from, but statesmen are required to take up.
Thus, shocking no one, Herring fails yet another test of leadership.