Virginia Governor Wants To Decriminalize Low-Level Cannabis Possession

Virginia looks poised to join the ranks of states to decriminalize marijuana, with Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announcing last week that he backs the policy.

The proposal is part of Northam’s broader criminal justice reform agenda for the new year, which along with cannabis decriminalization includes parole reform, raising the felony larceny threshold, raising the age of juvenile transfer to adult court, and the permanent elimination of driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines, fees and court costs.


Hemp in Virginia grows toward the future

“We do grams, eighths, quarters, half ounces, pounds, wholesale pounds — however you want it,” Jacob Stretch said, standing between crates of dried hemp in his living room that doubles as his hemp processing and drying facility. Stretch, owner of Chesapeake Blue, just finished his first season growing industrial hemp as a registered grower and processor on his family’s farm.

Industrial hemp is poised to be a fast growing sector of agriculture in Virginia. Hemp advocacy group Vote Hemp estimates 2017 retail sales of hemp products neared $820 million nationally and will continue to grow.


Marijuana Legalization: Can Virginia Expect it in 2020?

Marijuana is strictly prohibited in Virginia. All forms of marijuana are illegal in the state. Yet, recreational cannabis sales went live in Michigan on Sunday. To know more about this, read Recreational Marijuana Sales Go Live in Michigan. Furthermore, Illinois will legalize marijuana on January 1, 2020. While the other states are pushing for legalization, let’s see what steps Virginia is taking.


Field test kits will help police distinguish between marijuana and hemp

Field test kits for police to help distinguish illegal marijuana from legal industrial hemp — both cannabis plants — will be distributed to departments across Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science notified law enforcement agencies last month that 16,150 kits have been purchased for $97,500 using a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

The two plants look and smell the same. But cannabis that has a level of THC — the chemical that produces a high — of 0.3% or less is now legal in the possession of growers, dealers and processors who are registered with the state government.


Hemp processor setting up shop in Virginia

The first commercial industrial hemp fiber processing facility in the U.S. state of Virginia should be up and running soon.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Vitality Farms, LLC, operating as Appalachian Biomass Processing, will establish a facility in Wythe County and has plans of purchasing 6,000 tons of hemp grown in the state over the next three years.

In March this year, Governor Northam signed legislation legalising commercial growing and processing of industrial hemp in the state. Previously hemp could only be grown in Virginia for research purposes.


Hemp crop insurance coming to Virginia as early as 2020

Hemp farmers in Virginia could have crop insurance available to them as early as 2020, according to a congressional press release Thursday, Sept. 25.

U.S. Senators. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with U.S. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) today secured Virginia’s inclusion in a pilot program by AgriLogic Consulting, a private company developing a Federal Yield-Based Industrial Hemp Crop Insurance Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Medical marijuana is coming to Northern Virginia next year

Northern Virginia’s first medical marijuana facility Dalisto will open its doors in Manassas next year.

While cultivation centers and dispensaries are completely separate in DC and Maryland, Virginia sites like Dalisto will house every step of the medical cannabis process from seed to sale under a single roof.


Virginia buys new tests to distinguish marijuana from CBD

Virginia law enforcement could soon have another tool to help distinguish marijuana from CBD, a move that comes after a News4 I-Team investigation found flaws with commonly used drug field tests.

On Wednesday, the commonwealth’s top forensic scientist recommended police officers incorporate a new drug field test, developed by Swiss police, that turns distinct colors when a material contains more marijuana than its hemp cousin, CBD.

Speaking at a board meeting, Linda Jackson said her office ran extensive validation tests on the Swiss kits and recommends police officers use them in tandem with the former kits.


Annual marijuana possession arrests soar in Virginia

The total number of marijuana-related arrests in 2018 climbed to nearly 29,000 – a total that is three times higher than 1999 totals, according to crime data compiled by the Virginia State Police.


Virginia announces new policy allowing the production of hemp extracts

Under a new policy announced by the Northam Administration, the Commonwealth of Virginia will soon officially authorize hemp processors to produce hemp extracts for human consumption.

For months, Virginia hemp farmers and processors have been operating under a cloud of regulatory uncertainty despite the enactment of legislation last March authorizing commercial hemp production, including extracts, in Virginia.


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