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House GOP favors criminal penalties for marijuana possession

The director of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said she is remaining optimistic in spite of scant political will in the statehouse for the cause.

The Republican-led House Courts of Justice this week tabled various marijuana-related proposals, including one to decriminalize it. But Virginia NORML Director Pam Novy, of Culpeper, said that would not set back the state’s marijuana reform movement.


Epileptic mom who used marijuana raising funds to fight charges

The family of a young Russell County woman facing up to ten years in prison after using marijuana to treat seizures while pregnant has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for her criminal defense.

Katie Darovitz shared her story with ProPublica and Al.com earlier this year. The 25-year-old suffers from epilepsy so severe that she can't drive safely or hold a job. When she found out she was pregnant, she went off her anti-epilepsy drugs – which have been linked to birth defects – and began using marijuana to prevent seizures.


Synthetic Marijuana Use Rising

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Leaders from the regional drug task force said users often go for synthetic marijuana called "spice" or "K2" because it is cheaper and easier to get than real marijuana. Plus, there's a myth that spice doesn't show up on drug testing.

We checked in with the RUSH Drug Task Force. In 2013, they handled six cases involving spice, seizing nearly 30 grams.

In 2014, there was a big increase. There were 21 cases and more than 8,000 grams. In 2015 (so far) the task force has had 25 cases and nearly 3,500 grams collected.


Bernie Sanders: End Federal Marijuana Prohibition To Improve Lives Of Black People

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders went farther than any of his opponents in calling for an end to the war on drugs Wednesday when he told college students at George Mason University it was time to “to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana.”

Sanders said a shift away from criminal prosecutions for marijuana could improve the lives of black Americans he said are unfairly burdened with criminal records for doing something Americans of all races also do.


Kids' feelings about marijuana in sixth grade may predict future risk of drunk driving

ew study of Los Angeles-area kids suggests a specific way to reduce the risk that they will drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs as teenagers — challenge their positive beliefs about marijuana, and start doing it as early as sixth grade.

Why? Compared to 12-year-olds who had negative views of marijuana, 12-year-olds who believed marijuana could help them relax or was otherwise beneficial were significantly more likely to drive under the influence when they were 16. They were also significantly more likely to ride with someone else who was buzzed, drunk or high behind the wheel, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.



Williamsburg techie Michael Christopher wants to merge the cannabis industry with the herbal wellness movement and “tea renaissance.” With a name inspired by the Brooklyn loft culture, Loft Teais a line of “natural remedy” teas infused with CBD — a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, or chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Christopher publicly launched Loft Tea in June.


High expectations

STEVENSBURG — Members of a non-profit state organization are trying to weed out legislation that criminalizes the possession of marijuana in Virginia.

According to the group’s mission statement, it wants to “represent Virginia’s cannabis community at the General Assembly and throughout the state, and to promote a regulated cannabis market by legalizing the responsible use, cultivation and distribution of cannabis products.”

Established in 1970 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, recently started a Culpeper Chapter in August.


Virginia Beach cop used his nose to locate marijuana grow operation

A Virginia Beach police officer helped locate a marijuana grow operation earlier this year, as well as four pounds of processed pot, some cocaine and more than $92,000 in cash.

And his secret weapon? His nose.

Alonzo D. Bell, 32, of Virginia Beach, was indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court on five felonies – including possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and maintaining a drug involved premises. An arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Suzanne Katchmar declined to comment on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Darryl Mitchell did not immediately return an email.


'Marijuana' lollipops roll through Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Offering "Emergency Marijuana Service," an ambulance turned candy store rolled into Hampton Roads this past weekend.

It's one of 15 trucks operated by Weed World Candies, which offers marijuana lollipops.

"It's not just about selling a product. It's about educating," explained Pete Marrero who has worked for the company for two years.

Marrero told 13News Now that the business supports legalization of marijuana across the country, especially for medicinal purposes.

Weed World Candies has offices in different parts of the United States, including Alabama.


Virginia Tech files hemp application

Virginia Tech researchers applied this week for a state license to join the first wave of farmers and scientists who want to relearn the intricacies of hemp cultivation.

“Even though there is a history of growing it, to us, it’s new,” said Saied Mostaghimi, associate dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Tech was one of three universities that had asked for hemp licenses by early Friday afternoon — just ahead of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ deadline for applications. Obtaining the licenses to experiment with what has been a banned substance for decades is an attempt to restart an industry with deep ties to the commonwealth.


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