Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is calling for the legalization of marijuana. Herring said Saturday that Virginia should start decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and eventually legalize the drug. Herring said criminal prosecutions are costly to the state and local governments and disproportionately affect African Americans. In the last decade the number of first-time marijuana convictions in Virginia has risen 53%, from over 6,500 in 2008 to 10,000 in 2017. Arrests for marijuana possession have increased about 115%, from around 13,000 in 2003 to nearly 28,000 in 2017. The cost of marijuana criminal enforcement is estimated to be up to $81 million each year.