Five Virginia Politicians Thwart the People and Democracy in Marijuana Reform Legislation

We the people elite.  A number of proposed bills to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana were put forth in the ongoing General Assembly session.  These bills were systematically killed in subcommittee by a tiny fraction of the General Assembly.  Generally speaking, five Republican Delegates decided that the proposed marijuana reform bills should not reach the full committee let alone the entirety of the General Assembly for a vote.  These five legislators know, or should have known, that the vast majority of Virginians (in poll after poll) favor the decriminalization of marijuana.

The will of the people be damned.  A relatively recent poll of Virginians found that an astonishing 76 percent favored the decriminalization of marijuana.  It’s hard to imagine any area of political debate today where more than three quarters of Virginians agree.  Yet five of our 100 House of Delegate members decided to actively resist the will of the people.

Drunk on their own egos.  The five delegates on the House Courts of Justice subcommittee who decided that their personal opinions trumped the full committee, the full house, the full General Assembly and the people of Virginia are …

C. Todd Gilbert (R-15), Robert B Bell (R-58), Les R Adams (R-16), Christopher Collins (R-29) and Margaret Ransone (R-99).

Collectively they represent approximately 400,000 Virginia citizens or just under 5% of the state’s population.  Their districts average 81.6% white whereas the state overall is 68.7% white.  4.5% of their constituents are Hispanic while 9% of Virginians are Hispanic.  In other words, five white Republicans representing disproportionately white, largely rural districts thwarted both democracy and the will of the people.  And folks wonder why the RPV is in terminal decay.

Republicans must lose this November.  Isolated pockets of “Hee Haw Republican politicians” are killing Virginia.  While these Republicans can’t be faulted for having their own traditional values they certainly can be faulted for foisting those values on the rest of the state.  The only answer is to root them out of the back rooms, dark cellars, dusty crawl spaces and anti-democratic subcommittees where they hide.  Unfortunately, a bad infestation of political cockroaches requires a full scale fumigation.  That is where we are in Virginia.  A complete Democratic takeover of the Virginia state legislature this November along with redistricting in 2021 will finally result in the removal of politicians like these from the majorities of subcommittees, committees and the General Assembly.  Perhaps after the rout this November a new breed of Republican politician will emerge.  A breed that respects democracy and the will of the people more than they love their own reflected images.

— Don Rippert