State Senator calls for budget do-over

One Republican in the State Senate says it may be time to call a special session and start over with the state budget.

Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond, posted on X that with the Alexandria arena and retail marijuana out of the way after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s vetoes and in light of the Baltimore bridge collapse, the budget should be redone with a focus on the Port of Virginia.

“The bridge collapse this week means the Port of Virginia is going to have to do more to keep the economy moving,” Sturtevant said in the Friday post.

“The Port should really be the focus of the budget;” he said, “currently it’s not. Maybe @GlennYoungkin can get that done with amendments. But what we really need is to scrap the budget and start over with the @PortofVirginia  as a major priority.”

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Man arrested; 123 pounds of pot confiscated

VSP official patch and logo used by permission by Information Officer Brent Coffey

A New York state man was arrested after troopers found 123 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a Wednesday traffic stop, State Police said.

The traffic stop was initiated for speeding and following too closely on Interstate 81 in Rockingham County. During the stop at mile marker 246, the driver, Jun Yan of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., consented to a search of his Toyota Sienna.

During the search, Virginia State Police discovered 123 boxes containing vacuum sealed packages of marijuana.

The 45-year-old Yan faces charges of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute and transporting more than 5 pounds of the drug into the state. In all, 123 pounds of marijuana with a street value of over $500,000 was confiscated.

Yan has been transported to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Regional Jail and is being held without bond.

Youngkin passes 100 bills; vetoes marijuana sales and raising minimum wage

Governor Glenn Youngkin acted on 107 bills yesterday regarding a variety of topics.

Of the 100 passed, they included increasing law enforcement’s ability to prosecute child predators, expanding inmate access to health services, and raising the age for Jury Duty exemption from 70 to 73.

7 bills were vetoed including raising the minimum wage and the retail sale of marijuana.

In Youngkin’s veto statement, he claimed that legalizing the sale of marijuana would increase gang and violent crime, and have a negative effect on youth.

Virginia became the first southern state to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2021.

The minimum wage proposal would have increased the current $12 rate incrementally to $13.50 in 2025 then $15 by 2026.

A full list of the 100 bills passed is available here.

Veto statements for the 7 others are available here.

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Joint operation results in the arrest of 10

VSP official patch and logo used by permission by Information Officer Brent Coffey

The Virginia State Police along with the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force in a joint operation seized more than $4.4 million dollars in marijuana and other illegal narcotics and made 10 arrests throughout six counties the week of December 11th .

In addition, $340,650 in cash and weapons was recovered.

The Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force is composed of law enforcement personnel from the Orange, Fauquier, Rappahannock, Culpeper, and Madison Sheriff’s Offices; Culpeper,
Warrenton, Orange Police Departments; and the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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BRNGTF concludes six month investigation with drug arrest

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The Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force confirmed by email that they have  concluded a six month investigation on May 25 after the arrest of a Rappahannock resident.

Eric L. Butler, 45, was arrested following a search warrant of his property that uncovered 100 grams of cocaine, 20 grams of heroin, 100 grams of marijuana and $21,792 cash.

The street value of the drugs is estimated at $18,000.

Officers also seized seven firearms and a 2009 Chevy Tahoe in the search.

He was charged with two felony counts of possession with intent to distribute schedule I/II drug, one felony count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, one felony count of possession of a firearm while in possession of a schedule I/II drug, and one felony count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Butler is being held at RSW Regional Jail on a secured bond.

The Task Force also thanked law enforcement from surrounding areas and the Virginia State Police for their assistance in the investigation.

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Local law enforcement issues marijuana law reminders

Local law enforcement agencies are reminding residents today on 4/20 that driving under the influence of marijuana is not only dangerous, but against the law.

Under Virginia law, it is also illegal to have an opened container of marijuana in the passenger area of the vehicle.

Driving while high on marijuana can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it difficult to maintain lane position.

Designate a sober driver or utilize a ridesharing service or cab to make it home safe.

Driving while under the influence of drugs is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia  and penalties can include up to 12 months in jail, $2,500 fine, 12 month loss of driving privileges, and completion of certain safety programs.

Remember, if you feel different, you drive different.

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Martinsburg traffic stop leads to drugs and gun arrest

Martinsburg Police Department’s PFC Condo initiated a traffic stop at 9:25 pm on March 23rd of a Dodge Charger operating without lights.

The officer smelled marijuana and saw a handgun on the floor.

After a search of the vehicle, officers seized a Glock handgun, $579.00, and what is believed to be 123 Fentanyl pills, 89 Percocet, 7.6 grams of crack cocaine, oxycodone, and marijuana.

The driver, Ein Chase Kidrick, was charged with five counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, felony conspiracy, prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and his third offense of driving on a suspended license.

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A holiday for some.

Today is April 20th, or 4/20, a date synonymous with smoking marijuana, but why?  Some suspect it has links to the Bob Dylan song Rainy Day Women #12 and #35.  Twelve times 35 equals 420.  Today is also Adolph Hitler’s birthday.  It was thought that Hitler was addicted to various drugs.  Another theory is that the police code for someone actively smoking marijuana is a 420.  According to Time dot com, all those theories are false.  The most credible story takes us to Marin County, California In 1971, where five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. by a statue of Louis Pasteur that was on the campus to partake. They chose that specific time because extracurricular activities had usually ended by then. The group became known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall. They would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana.  Fast forward to a Grateful Dead concert in 1990 where flyers were handed out inviting people to smoke on April 20th at 4:20.  Steve Bloom, the Editor of High Times magazine got a copy of the poster and in 1991 his magazine published the flyer and the stoner holiday was born.  Recreational use of cannabis is legal in eighteen states and medical use, with a doctors recommendation, is legal in 37 states.  It still remains against Federal law to posses or use marijuana.   Listen to the podcast here;

Virginia marijuana legalization timetable has many confused

emergency funding for homeless

By Associated Press | Published Jun. 19, 2021 11:00 a.m.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s road to legalizing simple possession of marijuana has had some twists and turns, so it’s not surprising that advocacy groups have been flooded with calls from people trying to understand exactly what will be allowed under state law as of July 1.

Legislators initially voted in February to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adult recreational use, but not until 2024, when retail sales would begin. An outcry ensued over the three-year wait before ending pot possession penalties, so in April they voted to move up legalization to this July 1.

Adding to the confusion: lawmakers included a “reenactment clause,” which means the General Assembly will have to vote again next year on major portions of the law, mainly to establish a regulatory framework for the legal marijuana marketplace.

The process has resulted in some contradictions that may not get resolved until years after legalization begins.

Sen. Adam Ebbin, one of the lead sponsors, said people need to understand the law’s limits for now. Possession of up to one ounce (28.3 grams) with no intent to distribute will become legal for adults, 21 and older. Adults will also be allowed to grow up to four marijuana plants per household. But not much else will change.

“People still need to be careful — this is not an official open marijuana market,” Ebbin said.

Virginia is joining 17 other states with laws allowing adults to possess and consume marijuana. In each one, laws have legalized simple possession before establishing a legal marketplace for buying and selling marijuana, said Jenn Michelle Pedini, the development director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Under Virginia’s law, buying and selling marijuana will remain illegal until Jan. 1, 2024, when retail sales are expected to begin. Smoking marijuana in public also remains against the law.

Pedini, who is also the executive director of Virginia NORML, said the organization fields questions every day from people who are surprised to learn that selling pot won’t be allowed for another three years.

“The only legal sale of cannabis in Virginia is through the medical (marijuana) program,” Pedini said.

Virginia NORML has a page on its website to answer frequently asked questions and clear up confusion. The state also launched a website to answer questions about the new law.

Although people can legally cultivate marijuana plants beginning July 1, it will still be illegal for anyone to buy cannabis seeds or cuttings needed to grow those plants. That’s one of the contradictions bothering Republican Sen. Ryan McDougle, who voted against the legislation.

“The biggest inconsistency is you cannot legally buy marijuana for recreational use in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McDougle said.

“Under federal rules you can’t transport it (into Virginia), but if you have it, you can possess up to one ounce of it in Virginia. How you get that is the inconsistency. You can’t legally get it, but you can possess it,” he said.

In the original bill, both possession and sales of marijuana would have been legalized in 2024. But many social justice advocates pushed to immediately end the disparate treatment of people of color under existing marijuana laws.

The General Assembly’s research and watchdog agency found that from 2010-2019, Black Virginians were 3.5 times more likely than white Virginians to be arrested for marijuana possession, and 3.9 times more likely to be convicted, even though both populations used marijuana at similar rates.

“We want to do this the right way, and what that means is ending the disparate enforcement, which is going to make a huge change in the lives of thousands of Virginians,” said Alena Yarmosky, Gov. Ralph Northam’s spokeswoman. She said the administration also recognizes the “reality” that “people have marijuana now,” even though it is illegal in Virginia.

According to New Frontier Data’s U.S. Cannabis Report, Virginia had the fourth-largest illicit market last year, encompassing about $1.8 billion, or 3%, of an estimated $60 billion in total illicit sales nationwide.

“Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and because Virginia needs time to stand-up the regulatory structure for safe sales, it will not be legal to sell seeds or other marijuana until 2024,” Yarmosky said.

People will be allowed to share small amounts of seeds with one another, but they can’t sell them.

“The primary objective of legalization is to reduce criminalization and then to regulate safe legal access, so we’re checking one box, but we’re not checking the other this year,” Pedini said.

Pedini said may states have expedited adult access to marijuana through their medical marijuana dispensaries, something advocates hope Virginia lawmakers will vote to do in 2022. “Most people aren’t going to grow cannabis, but most people who will want to participate in the adult use market will prefer to do so through a legal avenue,” Pedini said.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Monday at 8:30 a.m. we talk to Front Royal Police Chief Kahle Magalis on the issue and other new laws that go into effect July 1.

No Hokie Hokie high at Virginia Tech; marijuana still banned

marijuana legalization report

By Associated Press | Published Jun. 14, 2021 1:25 p.m.

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Marijuana legalization is coming to Virginia, but universities in the state aren’t following suit.

Virginia Tech recently updated its student code of contact to make clear that marijuana is still banned on campus even after July 1, when Virginia’s new legalization law takes effect.

The Blacksburg school is the first in the state to revise its code of conduct in response to legalization.

But The Roanoke Times reports that other universities in the state also plan to keep marijuana banned on campus. Some schools say their codes of contact need no update because they clearly ban the drug. Other schools say they are reviewing whether changes are necessary.

The paper reports that schools are reluctant to allow marijuana in part because they fear a loss of federal funding under the the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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