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Pilot on Politics

 What’s happening in politics and lawmaking in Richmond, Hampton Roads and around Virginia? Our reporters share tips, tidbits and stories here. What do you know? Post your comments. If you have story ideas, contact Bill Sizemore at bill.sizemore@pilotonline.com or 757-618-8855 or Bill Bartel at bill.bartel@pilotonline.com or 757-446-2398.

Cuccinelli OK with legalized pot, not public pools

Legalizing marijuana is an idea Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican running for Virginia governor, is open to.

Yet even as his views on pot evolve, Cuccinelli is firmly against public pools and recreation centers, which he considers economic interference by government that undercuts private business investments in profit-making fitness centers.

Cuccinelli conceptually signaled support for marijuana initiatives in Colorado and Washington -- voters in both states last year approved efforts to legalize pot -- during an appearance at the University of Virginia this week, according to news reports.

A story by Charlottesville-area station NBC 29 notes "Cuccinelli said he's not against states experimenting with what places like Colorado and Washington have done, calling it a learning opportunity for other places."

An article in The Cavalier Daily, a U.Va. student newspaper, said Cuccinelli took on the topic in response to a student's question.

"I’m not sure about Virginia’s future [in terms of marijuana legalization]," the newspaper quoted Cuccinelli saying. "But I and a lot of people are watching Colorado and Washington to see how it plays out."

Cuccinelli's marijuana comments surprised U.Va. political science professor Larry Sabato, whose class Cuccinelli addressed.

Sabato said "Cuccinelli stressed he wouldn't be recommending changes anytime soon. But he praised states such as Colorado for experimenting with marihuana legalization, saying this was federalism in action. He said twice his views were 'evolving" on the subject."

"The students were as surprised as I was," Sabato added, observing that based on their reactions Cuccinelli's "views made him more appealing to them."

Sabato surmised a semi-libertarian approach on marijuana policy could help Republicans attract younger voters, adding that Cuccinelli drew a distinction on hard drugs, saying he'd never waver on them.

"There's a libertarian streak to Cuccinelli's conservatism, just as there is in the Tea Party generally," Sabato assessed. "Not on all issues, of course -- abortion being a prominent one."

So far, Cuccinelli's marijuana remarks have gone largely unnoticed by the media that's been ravenously combing his new book, The Last Line of Defense, for spicy excerpts.

One that's received little attention are his writings about public pools and recreation centers.

Cuccinelli sees such facilities as an example of improper public sector involvement in the physical fitness marketplace that crowds out private business because "government doesn't need to be as concerned about losing money on the venture."

"After all, it could just raise taxes when it needed to cover the losses that would inevitably occur," he wrote on page 240 of his book.

Concluding his argument, Cuccinelli said "citizens' liberty once again finds itself reduced to a smaller and smaller sliver of the liberty pie" due to government's ability to crowd out private economic activity.

A Cuccinelli political adviser did not respond to several requests for comment.

-- Julian Walker

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a thought

--while I will not comment on pot.--I find the article informative--just a little more into the person I am supposed to support, IF I choose to.

--there is nothing better to use,then knowledge.--keep the information coming so everyone can share in the different bits of knowledge that everyone has a little of.--there are so many people out there running for different things with only limited knowledge about them!

--INFORMATION ONLY,--not slander,--I hope you know the difference.there was a insite shown in this story about the person--,that I hope you noticed.

--frank in va.bch

Cuccinelli's Bizarre Opinions

Virginia does not need a governor who wants to ban public pools and recreation centers. There is nothing wrong with the private sector opening its own facilities, but often a community is ready to build its own before a privately owned business is ready to take the business risk or has the capital to do it. Such self denial to benefit some potential future business is nuts. If a business wants to get ahead of the poublic sector and build something that is fine. But asking people to wait for something that may never come benefits nobody except political ideologists.

Excuse me,but I think your

Excuse me,but I think your opinion of Ken Cuccinelli's opinion is that he is committed to taking state action on an issue of local authority.
I believe he gave no evidence of his intent to act on that philosophical exercise.
He is right about the business economics of it, without considering the moral and community economic value of keeping kids engaged and so out of trouble.
But the balance between those two kinds of 'being right' can only be known at the local level.
If there is no state money involved then Governor Cuccinelli would never be involved in that decision.
Your fears and condemnation seem to have no basis.

I am glad that our Ken

I am glad that our Ken Cuccinelli's mind is agile enough to embrace an ever larger exposure to truth. Because he is both right and wrong. This is Virginia not Colorado or Washington. All Virginians are rightly bounded by:
"VA§ 1-248. Supremacy of federal and state law. The Constitution and laws of the United States and of the Commonwealth shall be supreme. Any ordinance, resolution, bylaw, rule, regulation, or order of any governing body or any corporation, board, or number of persons shall not be *inconsistent* with the Constitution and laws of the United States or of the Commonwealth."

Now that puts us in a bit of a bind because the federal law on marijuana is inconsistent with the *as ratified* meaning of our federal Constitution.

Constructing our marijuana

Constructing our marijuana law so that the stress, cost and damage of inconsistency is minimized will also serve to protect Virginians from prosecution by the feds under federal law.
Make our marijuana laws only inconsistent with federal law by the degree of infraction.
Now any Virginian under threat of federal indictment could run down to the nearest magistrate and plead guilty so as to come under the protection of our state and federal constitutional guarantees against double jeopardy.
Problem solved - including the problem of wrongful public exercise of right to private behavior.

I am not certain, but I

I am not certain, but I think our governor has authority to commute any sentence. Consider the large and large variety of benefits and possible minimal cost of freeing all non-violent and non-moral turpitude offenders of state law crime. This means a new VA marijuana could be made essentially retro active - and our sheriff's department could now attend to training local militia and proving its civil defense capability by running school kitchens - but that is likely a local, not state issue.

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