|RICHMOND(July 19, 2021)—Attorney General Mark R. Herring is currently seeking applications for an attorney to serve as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first full-time, dedicated cannabis attorney. The attorney will serve as general counsel to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority while also assisting other Virginia state agencies regarding regulations and laws regarding cannabis.
“By decriminalizing and now legalizing simple possession we’ve taken the most important and urgent steps to stop the harm caused by cannabis prohibition,” said Attorney General Herring. “Now comes the hard work of building a safe, stable regulatory system that protects public health and the environment and ensures a safe, fair, and equitable marketplace that encourages opportunity amongst the communities who have been most harmed by the War on Drugs approach of the past. I’m hiring a dedicated attorney to help guide the Commonwealth’s efforts because I am committed to getting this right, and to making sure that we keep Virginia at the forefront of national efforts to craft a more just, fair, and sensible system for dealing with cannabis.”
Attorney General Herring’s new cannabis attorney will serve as the Commonwealth’s subject matter expert on the legal and regulatory environment surrounding cannabis. The legalization of cannabis in Virginia will affect a wide range of state agencies and implicate numerous topics of law including criminal justice, healthcare and pharmacy, agriculture and land use, taxation, licensing, affirmative and defensive litigation, risk assessment, and more.
Potential applicants to serve as Virginia’s cannabis attorney must be admitted to the Virginia State Bar or eligible for admission, and should possess experience in business law, litigation experience in both state and federal court, representation of government agencies, and a strong knowledge of state and federal regulation of controlled substances.
Interested candidates should apply online at https://jobs.virginia.gov/ and can locate the position here or by searching for keyword “cannabis” or selecting “Attorney General” in the list of state agencies.
During the 2021 General Assembly Session, Attorney General Herring helped successfully move Virginia towards legal, regulated adult use of cannabis, after he become the leader on cannabis reform in Virginia following his call for decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, action to address past convictions, and a move towards legal and regulated adult use. In his call for cannabis reform, he cited the unnecessary negative impact of a criminal conviction for possession, the expense and social costs of enforcing the current system, and the disparate impact on African Americans and people and communities of color. Attorney General Herring reiterated his call for reform when data from 2018 showed a record number of arrests for marijuana possession. In December 2019, Attorney General Herring held a cannabis summit for policymaking stakeholders in Virginia that focused on policy and included experts from attorneys generals’ offices, state agencies and legislative operations in states that have legalized cannabis, as well as cannabis policy experts.