Governor signs law targeting synthetic drugs
Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed into law legislation to expand the list of prohibited chemicals used in making synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs.
McDonnell announced Wednesday that he had signed House Bill 1941, which included an emergency clause making it effective immediately.
In a statement, the governor said the new law “continues Virginia’s commitment to combating the spread of illegal drugs in the commonwealth and preserving the safety of our schools and neighborhoods and builds on legislative efforts earlier in my administration to combat drugs and punish drug dealers.”
HB 1941, introduced by Delegate T. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg, expands a law that the General Assembly passed in 2011. The 2011 law prohibited specific chemicals used in making synthetic cannabinoids, sold under such names as K2 and Spice, and “bath salts,” a hallucinogen popularized on the Internet.
Since then, McDonnell said that “manufacturers and sellers continue to develop and market chemical variations outside the list of prohibited substances. This has challenged state lawmakers to stay current with the continually emerging chemical variations of these substances that appear in the marketplace.”
The General Assembly added to the list of prohibited chemicals in 2012 and again this year.
“With the enactment of HB 1941, Virginia now bans nine classes of cannabimimetic agents, including 26 specific synthetic cannabinoids and 41 specified research chemical compounds,” McDonnell said.
Republican Delegates G. Manoli Loupassi of Richmond and Margaret Ransone of Kinsale joined Garrett in sponsoring the bill. It passed unanimously in both the House and Senate during the legislative session that ended last month.
“This legislation will help keep Virginians safe from these dangerous chemicals that are designed to profit at the expense of our children,” Garrett said.
Even as McDonnell signed HB 1941, he proposed adding more chemicals to the list of outlawed substances.
The governor noted that besides passing HB 1941, lawmakers also approved a similar Senate proposal – Senate Bill 1083, sponsored by Sen. Mark Herring, D-Leesburg. McDonnell said he will ask the General Assembly to modify SB 1083 when it reconvenes for a one-day session on April 3.
“Since the conclusion of the 2013 General Assembly Session, the Department of Forensic Science and law enforcement officials have worked together to identify five additional chemicals recently detected in evidence,” McDonnell said.
“To account for this recent development, I will be requesting amendments for SB 1083, patroned by Sen. Mark Herring, to include these new chemicals to the list of prohibited under the Code of Virginia.”
Synthetic cannabinoids are dried herbs that have been sprayed with a chemical compound that, when smoked, creates a high similar to marijuana, according to an analysis of the legislation by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. “Bath salts” are synthetic stimulants that mimic cocaine, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy) or methamphetamine.
The analysis noted that the penalties associated with those drugs can range from a fine or jail time (for possession of synthetic marijuana, a misdemeanor) to 30 years in prison (for manufacturing and distributing drugs, a major felony).
Holman Middle School student Victoria Nguyen recently was named Miss Virginia American Coed Junior Teen after competing in the Miss Virginia American Coed pageant in Williamsburg. She was the youngest competitor in her division. Nguyen now will advance to represent Virginia at the 2015 Miss American Junior Teen Pageant at Walt Disney World in Florida in November. > Read more.
Companion Extraordinaire Home Care and Skilled Services will be honoring veterans and current military members May 14 at 11 a.m. The event will take place at 5311 Lakeside Avenue.
Companion Extraordinaire dedicated a hall in its new Lakeside office as a “Wall of Honor” and will be presenting 13 military service men and women with certificates as well as placing their service photos on the wall.
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Public vote open through Friday to select winner
Citizen Staff Reports
Henrico resident Haley Malloy is one of three national finalists for a $10,000 scholarship, whose winner will be determined by the vote of the public.
Malloy is a finalist for The Goddard School Anthony A. Martino Scholarship, which is open annually to any high school junior or senior who graduated from a Goddard School pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program. Applicants are evaluated based upon the work ethic and perseverance they have demonstrated – two key characteristics of Martino, the founder of the Goddard School franchise system. > Read more.
Relax this holiday weekend with Fridays Uncorked at Southern Season – taste wines from the Roman Empire! Or at James River Cellars who is hosting “Experience Virginia” – sample Virginia wine, beer, cider and mead. And what goes better with wine than strawberries – an annual tradition in Varina, the Gallmeyer Farms’ Strawberry Fields Festival is tomorrow. Other fun happenings this weekend include: “A Little Princess” at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen; weekly dance at American Legion Post 125; and National Theatre Live’s “Man and Superman” at the University of Richmond. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Final performance of 2015 season – ‘Quartet’ – starts this week
CAT Theatre’s final show of its 51st season – Quartet by Ronald Harwood – will open May 22 and run through June 6. It will be the show’s Richmond-area premiere.
The theatre also announced its four-show schedule for its 52nd season, which will begin in October and continue into June 2016, and announced a new partnership with The Bifocals Theatre Project, an outreach program into senior communities in the Richmond region. > Read more.
It’s a beautiful weekend to spend outdoors and Henrico has many options to choose from! The 31st annual Lebanese Food Festival begins today on the grounds of St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church. The MISS Foundation’s Kindness Walk is tomorrow, as well as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides Walk. Take a Sunday Stroll at Dorey Park with the Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society or raise money for the March of Dimes at the March for Babies in Innsbrook. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarThe Autism Society Central Virginia 5K Run/Walk will start at 8 a.m. in Innsbrook. This family-friendly race includes entertainment, food, exhibitors, and a Kid’s Fun Zone. All funds go directly… Full text