Table credit: LawnStarter
by James A. Bacon
LawnStarter has listed 2022’s Best Cities to Get Stoned, ranking nearly 100 of the biggest U.S. cities where recreational marijuana use is legal. Alexandria is the only one in Virginia that ranks in the top half. Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Chesapeake all rank in the bottom eight.
The ranking is based on access to dispensaries, head shops, consumption lounges, and cannabis-friendly lodging, as well as the availability of tours and events and even munchie relief (fast food), among other factors. Continue reading
Documenting Virginia’s steady descent into madness…
Woke Kintergarten. Asra Nomani and her buddies at Parents Defending Education have caught the Fairfax County Public School system with its figurative pants down. A summer learning guide at Bailey’s Elementary school for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church suggested readers follow Web links to “Woke Kindergarten,” “No White Saviors,” other contents informed by Critical Race Theory, and photographs including nudity and semi-nudity, reports The Fairfax Times. After an outcry, the schools removed the material, declaring that the postings were made “in error.” Translation: “We don’t disavow the material, we made a mistake posting it online where parents could see it.”
The wrong kind of munchies. The Virginia Poison Center is recording a surge in calls relating to individuals ingesting marijuana edibles. Seventy-six percent were children, half of whom were under six, reports WTVR News. Fifteen children have been rushed to the hospital, and five required treatment in critical care units. Apparently, young children are drawn to the edibles, which look like candy, cookies or brownies. Virginia, which has decriminalized marijuana, is following the same path as states that legalized weed. Several of those states ban packaging that imitates popular snacks and the use of cartoons, animal shapes, or anything that might be attractive to children. Virginia should consider doing the same.
Defunding school resource officers. Back in May, the Alexandria City Council defunded SROs (School Resource Officers) in city schools and reallocated $790,000 to hire a “mentoring partnership coordinator,” a public health nurse, a therapist supervisor, three senior therapists, and a human services specialist. Guess who’s not happy? Alexandria school officials. According to The Alexandria Times, the school board wants the SROs back. Continue reading
Is cannabis legal in Virginia? Most followers of this blog are aware of the recent legislative efforts in Virginia to decriminalize and then legalize the possession of intoxicating marijuana by adults. Most followers of this blog believe that Virginia is presently in a twilight world where recreational possession of intoxicating marijuana is legal while the sale of such marijuana is illegal. Most followers of this blog are wrong.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp based products so long as those products contained almost no delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in THC that (usually) gets people high. Unfortunately for the federal legislation there is no prohibition on delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. Delta-8 as it’s called has a mild intoxicating effect. The apparent assumption in the 2018 Farm Bill was that Delta-8 was not a problem in the quantities found in non-intoxicating hemp products. Then along came the free market. Legal hemp products are being used to extract Delta-8 in quantities and potencies easily sufficient to intoxicate a person consuming the substance. Intoxicating marijuana products based on Delta-8 are publicly and legally on sale across the country including in Virginia. So, the sale of intoxicating marijuana products is currently legal in Virginia. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
No one ever accused the current members of the Virginia General Assembly of crafting elegant laws.
But the new bill that legalized marijuana this week is so confusing that the lawmakers must have been stoned when they wrote it.
The measure was supposed to take effect on January 1, 2024, with a framework in place for regulating, selling and taxing marijuana. But the majority in the General Assembly couldn’t wait that long so they concocted a cockamamie plan that divided the legalization into two ridiculous parts.
As of Thursday it became perfectly legal for anyone over 21 in Virginia to possess up to one ounce of pot.
But it won’t be legal to BUY marijuana in Virginia until January 1, 2024. By then, the rules governing the sale and distribution will be crafted by the governor-appointed Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.
Sort of like the parole board, only with the munchies. Continue reading
By Don Rippert
Warm up the bongs. Adults in Virginia will be able to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use starting July 1. The bill originally passed by the General Assembly would have delayed that date until July 1, 2024. However, Governor Ralph Northam amended the bill and, after some haggling, the General Assembly accepted the amended bill. Unsurprisingly, the bill that ultimately passed got more than a little frayed in the back and forth between the General Assembly and the Governor. Continue reading
by Steve Haner
When Virginians begin to buy marijuana from state-licensed providers, if Governor Ralph Northam has his way, along with his smiling visage on every baggie of grass you may also find a union label.
I’m kidding about getting high with the governor’s image on the package but using the legalization bill to promote union political goals through a back door is no joke. Future state marijuana licensees may be in danger of losing their ability to sell pot if they fail to live up to various union-driven labor law requirements, set out below. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
You can tell a lot about a politician by his or her priorities.
Take Gov. Ralph Northam, for instance.
On February 25th the General Assembly passed a bill requiring Virginia public schools to offer in-person instruction to all students. The original bill, proposed by Sen. Shiobhan Dunnavant, was quite simple and to the point.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. § 1. That each local school division in the Commonwealth shall make in-person learning available to all students by choice of the student’s parent or guardian.
2. That an emergency exists and this act is in force from its passage.
After much foolish debate the second part of the bill was struck. The politicians on the left decided there wasn’t an emergency. No need to force schools to fully reopen before July.
As if we needed more proof of the power of teachers’ unions in Virginia. Continue reading
by D.J. Rippert
Slow burn. The General Assembly passed marijuana legislation and sent it to the governor to sign. However, almost nobody seems satisfied with the bill as it is written. Now Governor Ralph Northam must decide whether to sign the bill, veto the bill, or ask for the bill to be amended. As he ponders his next move, he is getting a lot of advice from different directions.
While there are many issues with the proposed legislation, the timeline for recreational legalization of possession is arguably the biggest problem. The legislation, as written, would legalize recreational marijuana possession and sale in 2024. Yes, more than three full years from now. That doesn’t sit well with a lot of people including Democratic State Senator Louise Lucas, who wrote on social media, “Kicking the can down the road has the effect of continued over policing people of color.” Sen Lucas would like to see marijuana legalized on July 1, 2021. Continue reading
Posted in Business and Economy, Children and families, Courts and law, Crime , corrections and law enforcement, General Assembly, Regulation, Uncategorized
Tagged DJ Rippert, Don Rippert, marijuana, marijuana reforma
by DJ Rippert
Ralph Reefer. On Wednesday the Northam Administration unveiled legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Virginia. The legislation will be introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and Del. Don Scott Jr., D-Portsmouth. Northam took up the cause of legalizing marijuana last November citing both racial equity and financial issues. Sale of legal marijuana would start by Jan 1, 2023, under the Northam plan. Continue reading
Photo credit: Rip Dog Photography
by DJ Rippert
Elections have consequences. The recent presidential election along with the Georgia run-off election has secured Democratic control of Congress with no serious risk of presidential veto. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., has tried for years to establish a recreational marijuana marketplace only to be thwarted by Republicans in Congress. Finally, in the 2020 session Virginia’s General Assembly passed legislation that made the possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine so low that it could hardly be compared to a parking ticket ($25). This combination of events will soon have Northern Virginians buying marijuana in D.C. and bringing the weed back to the Old Dominion to consume. D.C. will profit while Virginia gets nothing. Continue reading
by DJ Rippert
Rolling stoned gathers no moss. Marijuana reform has been gaining momentum in the U.S. since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Today 36 states have either enacted medical marijuana access laws or are in the process of implementing such laws. In 2012 Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults. Today, 15 states have enacted recreational use laws or are in the process of doing so.
by DJ Rippert
This landing may get bumpy. In late 2018 a chap was on a plane that landed at Reagan National Airport. He undoubtedly had the usual tools of travel — toothbrush, shave kit and clean socks. However, he also had 50 pounds of marijuana and 400 cartridges of hashish oil. Perhaps he got on the wrong plane expecting to land in Denver. The MWAA Police met him at baggage claim, offered to help him with his luggage and cuffed him up.
As arlnow.com reports, “Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and the attorney representing the alleged drug carrier agreed that the defendant would plead guilty to two felony charges and be placed on probation. After completing the probation and 200 hours of community service, he would be able to withdraw the pleas to the felony charges and instead plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges while having a $100 fine imposed but then suspended.” Continue reading
By DJ Rippert
Up for grabs. In about three weeks Americans who haven’t already voted will go to the polls and vote. The presidency, the U,S, House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are all in play. Regarding the impact of the legalized adult use of marijuana in Virginia, the U.S. Senate is the key. That belief makes the relatively safe assumption that the Democrats will maintain a majority in the House. The reason the Senate is the key to recreational marijuana use in Northern Virginia involves Washington, D.C. Washington has already legalized the recreational use of marijuana. However, the implementation of a retail capability to buy and sell marijuana has been thwarted by Republicans using federal appropriations bills. That thwarting will end if the Democrats control both the House and Senate.
By DJ Rippert
Unintended consequences. Newspapers, websites and Bacon’s Rebellion have been full of articles describing and debating the COVID-19 pandemic and the police killing of George Floyd with the attendant protests. First-order consequences of these events have been widely discussed. However, as we enter into the “new normal” a number of secondary and tertiary questions arise. One such question pertains to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Virginia. My opinion is that both the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fallout and the new sense of urgency around racial justice should compel our state government to accelerate the legalization of adult use marijuana.
The COVID19 lockdown recession. The sudden stop to Virginia’s economy has resulted in predictable fiscal turmoil. While one can debate whether the lockdown was too restrictive, not sufficiently restrictive, too long or too short there can be no debate that closing large parts of the economy has caused deep financial issues. The US economy is in recession. Some will say that Virginia will be insulated from the worst of that recession by the flow of federal dollars through the state. To that I’d reply – “don’t be naive, Nancy” … stories of the impact on small businesses are being reported across the state. It should be obvious to everybody that Virginia faces a fiscal winter even if there is no second wave of Coronavirus this actual winter. Continue reading
Courtesy of AmericanMarijuana.Org
By DJ Rippert
The lesser of two evils. The ongoing 2020 Virginia General Assembly session has generated a lot of debate over gun control. Proponents of stricter firearms regulation cite reduced gun violence as a goal. While gun-related deaths (including murder) are a real problem, those deaths are less frequent than fatal opioid overdoses. In 2017, there were 455 murders in Virginia versus 1,241 drug overdose deaths involving opioids. The number of fatal opioid overdoses in Virginia rose from about 500 in 2010 to over 1,200 in 2018 while the number of gun related deaths (of all types) rose from 868 to 1036 over the same period. While it’s fair to say that Virginia has taken many steps to deal with the opioid crisis there is one step that has not been taken: legalization of medical marijuana. Recent studies point to the fact that most states adopting legal medical marijuana see an immediate reduction in opioid prescriptions after medical marijuana is legally available. Continue reading