The Deep Blue Ridge: Former prison inmate carves life’s story in wood for all to see
One Vinton man is hoping his story of hardships and hard-time inspires others to persevere and he does so by telling his story through wood. “I see things in wood in art. My hands for some reason have to continually move. I think it is a creative instinct.”
Bill to adjust timeline of recreational marijuana sale in Va. legislature
A bill moving up the timeline of the recreational sale of marijuana has passed the Virginia Senate. There’s no guarantee it will pass the House of Representatives or be signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin, but if it does, there’s concern it would crush many small businesses in the commonwealth, according to a report by NBC 29.
Newspaper: Pot arrests fall dramatically in Central Virginia
Arrests on marijuana-related charges have fallen dramatically this summer in and around Virginia's capital since a new law legalized possession of small amounts of pot and residents keeping a few cannabis plants, according to a newspaper report.
Legal marijuana, revoking the death penalty and 16 other laws that go into effect across Virginia on July 1
Most of the new laws passed earlier this year by the Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly will take effect Thursday, including measures that legalize the recreational use of marijuana, largely ban police use of facial recognition technology and forgive certain unemployment overpayments.
Local law enforcement, state police to retire K9s as marijuana becomes legal in Virginia
In three weeks, a big change is coming to the Commonwealth as Virginia’s new law to legalize recreational use of marijuana will take effect. The change impacts police departments across the state and their K9 officers.
Advocacy groups raise concerns about marijuana use among teens ahead of Virginia legalization
As state leaders prepare for the legalization of marijuana here in Virginia come July 1, local advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies are raising concerns over an increase in use among teenagers and young adults.
What happens now that marijuana is almost legal in Virginia
Marijuana is on its way to becoming legal in Virginia. “Last week we saw, really, more history being made with cannabis policy in Virginia. This was the first time that a marijuana legalization bill was not only heard, but debated and passed on the floor of not one, but both chambers,” said Pedini. AdThe two bills create an oversight committee, The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. In both bills, legal marijuana sales, which are expected to bring in about $300 million annually in state tax revenue, would not start until Jan. 1, 2024.
Virginia General Assembly passes bills to legalize marijuana, abolish death penalty, and more
VIRGINIA – The Virginia General Assembly convened on Friday and passed multiple bills that could impact Virginians across the Commonwealth, including a bill legalizing marijuana. Similar bills passed both the House and Senate after some debate. Both chambers also passed bills to abolish the death penalty. A Senate bill that would have prohibited someone convicted of domestic assault from buying, owning or transporting a firearm failed a vote. All bills passed by both chambers then hit Gov.
Marijuana legalization advancing forward after a Senate committee vote
ROANOKE, Va. – Moving a step closer to potentially legalizing marijuana in the Commonwealth, a Senate committee advances legislation by an 8 to 7 vote. The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee Friday approved an opt-out clause for localities to have marijuana businesses operate in their jurisdictions. Instead of demanding they must opt-out through a potentially time-consuming and costly process,” Virginia Municipal League Mitchell Smiley said. Some panel members say businesses with marijuana sales should be treated similarly to alcohol businesses. The Senate committee also struck down the proposal to eliminate homegrown cannabis, a move Pedini agrees with.
Virginia lawmakers now debating marijuana legalization
ROANOKE, Va. – Marijuana legalization continues to be a hot debate in the commonwealth. One of the topics lawmakers discussed was the regulation of commercial marijuana by determining who will have the authority. “NORML does support and prefer a regulatory agency that is specific to cannabis.“ Jenn Michelle Pedini, the executive director of Virginia NORML, said. Opposers of marijuana legalization believe public health is being outshined by commercialization. One of the main concerns law enforcement has is the potential for people to drive while under the influence of marijuana.
Medical marijuana bill co-sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith passes House
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill that would allow researchers to study medical marijuana’s effects passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The Medical Marijuana Research Act is co-sponsored by Southwest Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith. The bill, in its own words, would: “amend the Controlled Substances Act to make marijuana accessible for use by qualified marijuana researchers for medical purposes.”Griffith said he has advocated for medical marijuana in Congress since 1998. He believes the bill’s approval shows how much attitudes towards medical marijuana have changed since his first statement in support of it. The bill will now await a vote in the Senate.
These are the 5 key things Gov. Northam wants to see in a marijuana legalization bill
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginians are getting a better look at what a marijuana decriminalization bill could look like in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group held 15 public meetings between July and October. The report also includes what Northam’s office refers to as the “five key principles” Northam would like to see in a final legalization bill. The legislation should, according to Northam, be aligned with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, which prohibits indoor tobacco use. The legislation should, according to Northam, ensure Virginia collects appropriate and ongoing information on safety, health, and equity.
Virginians react to Governor Northam’s support of legalizing recreational marijuana
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam cited racial equity as one reason he’s supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana. The governor plans on introducing legislation when the General Assembly convenes in January. While Walker supported legislation for medical marijuana, he calls marijuana a gateway drug. “This is another form of drugs that lead to harder drugs, which then lead to the destruction of life.”But others support the governor’s decision. While Pedini says legalization could bring millions of dollars of tax revenue to the Commonwealth, Walker suggests finding others ways help with costs.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring: Marijuana legalization is crucial for promoting equity
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says legalizing marijuana is key to promoting equity in the Commonwealth. Herring has been considered a longtime advocate for cannabis reform and marijuana legalization. Herring helped decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana during the 2020 General Assembly Session. In 2019, Herring held the “Virginia Cannabis Summit” which brought together legislators, state agencies and other stakeholders to create a plan of action for reforming Virginia’s cannabis laws. “...I am proud of what we have already been able to accomplish and I look forward to working with my colleagues and advocacy partners as we continue to move Virginia forward on a path towards full legalization," said Herring.
’Legalizing marijuana will happen in Virginia,’ says Gov. Ralph Northam
Ralph Northam is pushing to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Virginia, which could be the first Southern state to do so. “Legalizing marijuana will happen in Virginia,” Northam said. Fifteen states have now broadly legalized it, while 36 states allow medical marijuana. Voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana this month. That wide margin was evident in the election, with marijuana measures passing with strong bipartisan support.
The unexpected winner on election night? Drugs
While we may not know if President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden won the presidential election for a while longer, there was one clear “winner” on election night, and that was recreational drugs. States across the country have been legalizing recreational marijuana every election cycle, and 2020 was no different. Residents in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota all voted to legalize recreational cannabis, and South Dakota also legalized medical marijuana, along with Mississippi. South Dakota became the first state to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in the same election. For the first time in U.S. history, the state of Oregon decriminalized possession of hard drugs, as well as voted to legalize psychedelic mushrooms.
‘We can do a lot better’: Virginia Attorney General looking forward to marijuana decriminalization
ROANOKE, Va. – Starting July 1, possession of small amounts of marijuana won’t land you behind bars. Marijuana advocates say while Wednesday is a big day in Virginia, decriminalization is not a public policy solution. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said says criminalizing small amounts of marijuana has not been working in Virginia. “It won’t do anything to address the way marijuana laws are disproportionately enforced between black Virginians and white Virginians despite equal usage rates,” Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini said. NORML is a national organization working to reform marijuana laws.
Gov. Northam signs bill to decriminalize simple marijuana possession in Virginia
Ralph Northam signed legislation on Thursday that will decriminalize simple marijuana possession. The bills decriminalize simple marijuana possession and provide a civil penalty of no more than $25. With the newly-signed bill, the threshold for a Class 1 misdemeanor is now one ounce or less. With the newly-signed bill, the threshold for a Class 5 felony is now more than one ounce. The newly-signed legislation creates a “rebuttable presumption” that someone who possesses no more than one ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use.
Gov. Northam exploring legalizing marijuana in Virginia, signs criminal justice legislation
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed multiple bills aimed at criminal justice reform in Virginia. “Every Virginian deserves access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” said Northam in a press release. “These bills combat mass incarceration, increase support for returning citizens, and ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have a meaningful second chance. I thank the General Assembly for working with us to build a more just and inclusive Commonwealth.”Northam signed the following bills:The governor also proposed two amendments