It is certainly something not many people expected.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) the conservative Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia told Larry Sabato's Center of Politics class at UVA that he was open to the idea of legalizing marijuana.
Cuccinelli didn't outright endorse the concept, but said he was interested to see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington. Cuccinelli a strong believer in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, believes it is the right of states to experiment with laws like these.
Here is my story from NBC12 on Cuccinelli's comments and how it compares to something he told me back in 2011.
CHARLOTTESVILLE (WWBT)- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is raising eyebrows saying he "may" support legalizing pot. Cuccinelli was speaking to Larry Sabato's political science class at UVA and told the students that he was open to the idea of making marijuana legal.
It may have caught the students at the by surprise, Cuccinelli's answer came after a student asked what he thought about the drug being made legal in Colorado and Washington.
"I don't have a problem with states experimenting with this sort of thing I think that's the role of states," Cuccinelli said.
Sabato, the well known political analyst, who invited Cuccinelli to speak, couldn't believe what he had heard.
"Frankly if people hear that whole answer, it may change his image somewhat. It was not stick-in-the-mud, that's for sure," said Sabato. "It was suggestive of a willingness to change marijuana policies in Virginia eventually."
While Cuccinelli holds personal conservative convictions on any number of issues he almost always prefers states to make the final call. Another example? Gay marriage.
In a 2011 interview, Cuccinelli told me he is personally opposed to same-sex marriage, but save for a constitutional amendment, believes it should not be banned by the federal government.
"Frankly, I think it is worth some consideration for the things that aren't reached by the federal constitution to just leave it to each state," he said.
read and see the entire story on NBC12.com
Cuccinelli's libertarian views don't often mesh perfectly with his socially conservative views. As an example, he has been consistently opposed to gay marriage. But in 2011 he told me that aside from a constitutional amendment, the feds had no business telling states what they can and can't do.
The biggest difference between marijuana and gay marriage is that while Cuccinelli is against the federal government telling a state like Virginia that they can't or must do something, he remains opposed to Virginia legalizing gay marriage on its own. When it comes to marijuana, however, he seems to be taking a cautious step toward making the drug legal here.
Cuccinelli told the students that he wants to see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington, and it would "take several years" before it would be seriously considered in Virginia. And while his comments have and will receive a lot of attention, it wouldn't have come up had a college student not asked about it. It is clearly not high on his list of priorities in what will be one short term should he be elected Governor.
My 2011 interview with Cuccinelli on gay marriage can be found below: