02/08/2013 01:26 pm ET

Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General, 'Evolving' On Marijuana Legalization Issue

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party hero and GOP gubernatorial candidate in this year's election, said this week that his views on marijuana legalization were "evolving."

Speaking to a class at the University of Virginia, Cuccinelli reportedly said that he was open to states following the example of marijuana legalization efforts passed by voters in Colorado and Washington last year.

"I don't have a problem with states experimenting with this sort of thing I think that's the role of states," Cuccinelli said, according to Ryan Nobles of WWBT.

Larry Sabato, director of UVA's Center on Politics, relayed Cuccinelli's comments to the Virginian-Pilot.

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

While Cuccinelli's staunch conservatism on issues such as abortion, women's health and gay rights have made him a divisive figure in many circles, Nobles points out that his belief in states rights has led him to some awkward policy positions.

Cuccinelli, a vocal gay marriage opponent, told Nobles in 2011 that he believed the issue of same-sex marriage rights should be decided on a state-by-state basis.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli's presumptive opponent, has been largely silent on the issue of marijuana, though he has claimed that he's never used pot or any other drug.

"Can you imagine me on drugs? I'd be jumping off skyscrapers!" he told Lorton Patch in 2011.

McAuliffe is expected to address the same UVA class later this year, where he could face similar questions about his stance on marijuana legalization.



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