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."
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.
COMMENTS ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here; comments do not reflect the views of The Virginian-Pilot or its websites. Users must follow agreed-upon rules: Be civil, be clean, be on topic; don't attack private individuals, other users or classes of people. Read the full rules here.
- Comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the report violation link below it.