ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - More than a dozen bills have been proposed for the General Assembly to consider surrounding marijuana, opioids and heroin. The Community Coalitions of Virginia, a group of prevention groups from around the Commonwealth, meets Monday to talk about their stance on fourteen bills going before the General Assembly this year.
The coalition chair Nancy Hans is also the Prevention Council of Roanoke County's Executive Director. She says Virginia still needs to take a wait and see approach when it comes to legalizing marijuana and see what comes out of states that have already legalized the drug.
"We have an opioid heroin crisis in the state across the country and to start to begin talking about legalizing marijuana just doesn't really make sense when we've got something already, we've got to put our heads and hands around and start to change that direction," said Hans. "Let's take the time to see what's happening in those legalized states and the impact and don't rush into this."
Among the items being proposed to the General Assembly:
-A study on the long-term effects of marijuana use that would include average age of first use, mental health side effects, brain development and effect on dropout rates. Delegate Bob Marshall is proposing the study by the Joint Committee on Health Care before decriminalization could happen which is being proposed by other lawmakers this session.
-A requirement by the year 2021 that colleges start a substance abuse recovery housing program