Virginia gov candidates take different approaches to marijuana

RICHMOND, Va. – Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie on Wednesday called for criminal justice reform that goes beyond what the GOP-controlled state legislature has so far been willing to embrace, including raising the state’s felony threshold to $500 from $200 and softening marijuana enforcement.

Speaking at a black-owned barbershop and surrounded by a number of local pastors and social workers who deal with people returning to the community from prison, Gillespie said he wants a system that is “just, fair and redeeming. I believe in redemption.”

Gillespie also cast his proposals in economic terms, pointing out that the state spends more than $1 billion a year on incarceration.

While he said he opposes decriminalizing marijuana because it “sends the wrong signal” to young people, Gillespie said he would favor a three-strikes approach for simple possession: The first two arrests would not carry criminal charges, but a third would.

By then, he said, “you…

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