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Law Enforcement Associations send joint letter to General Assembly urging them not to support retail sales of marijuana

On Monday, following the House passage of legislation establishing a retail market for marijuana, four of the leading law enforcement associations across Virginia outlined the dangers of legalizing retail sales of marijuana in Virginia.

On Monday, following the House passage of legislation establishing a retail market for marijuana, four of the leading law enforcement associations across Virginia outlined the dangers of legalizing retail sales of marijuana in Virginia. The letter, sent to all 140 members of the General Assembly, focuses on the setback retail sales would have on the progress Virginia has made in regards to improving behavioral health and lowering crime in local communities. The letter stresses that cannabis is fundamentally different from alcohol and tobacco, and deserves to be treated as such. 
 
“This letter should send a strong message to General Assembly Members that despite the conflated promise of huge tax revenues, allowing retail sales of marijuana in Virginia will cost Virginians more than it gains,” said Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) and the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Association (VACLEA). “The legislation still has a long way to go, and we hope this letter and the proven data contained in it will make legislators think twice before casting a vote that will bring more hurt and pain to communities.”
 
The letter was signed by the Virginia Sheriffs' Association, the Virginia State Police Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. The four groups serve as advocates for members who comprise nearly every branch of the local and state law enforcement community across Virginia. 
 
“Pro-marijuana groups have attempted to persuade legislators that legalizing a retail cannabis market would in turn result in a decrease of violent drug-related crime. However, the facts and nationwide statistics do not bear that out,” said Sheriff Lenny Millholland, President of Virginia Sheriffs Association and Sheriff of Frederick County, Virginia. “What we do see in states with a legal retail market is a continued, flourishing black market and an increase in illegal operations following legalization - crime increases, behavioral-health decreases, and the increased revenue from marijuana sales becomes just a drop in the bucket for the resources needed to improve damage to communities.”
 
"It's clear from states that have already established a retail market for cannabis that retail sales means an increase in cartels who seek total control of the cannabis market. Therefore, we share serious concerns on behalf of all of law enforcement,” said Bill Carrico, Executive Director of the Virginia State Police Association. “With recruitment issues already reaching all-time highs, how can we continue to protect the citizens of Virginia by passing legislation we know will have a direct impact on increasing crime in our neighborhoods. We fear the consequences of establishing a retail market for cannabis will only increase crime and add more stress on our State Police members."

The full letter can be viewed HERE.

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