- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - In a switch, the majority leader of the Virginia state Senate says he supports studying the decriminalization of marijuana.

Media outlets report that Tommy Norment, one of the most powerful political leaders in the Commonwealth, announced his position Tuesday while speaking before a Norfolk City Council dinner at the Slover Library.

Norment said the issue should be studied by the Virginia State Crime Commission, which makes recommendations to the legislature. He emphasized that he is for decriminalization and not legalization. Under decriminalization, possession of marijuana would remain illegal but would be treated as something like a traffic offense.

A study by the Crime Commission could lead to legislation in 2018.

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