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Councilman Chris Hilbert hosting 3rd District Meeting

Meet the new commander of the fourth precinct, discuss the future of Chamberlayne Avenue, and learn about Granicus.

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All Richmond Northside 3rd Voter District residents invited and encouraged to attend.

WHAT (Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.) – The Honorable Chris A. Hilbert, Councilman, Richmond City Council, Richmond Northside 3rd Voter District, in Richmond, Virginia, will hold a district-wide meeting for the Richmond Northside 3rd Voter District. Councilman Hilbert holds individual meetings throughout the year that include information on his goals and accomplishments; a topical agenda; and special guests. Please note that these meetings are now being held on the fourth Thursday of every month, and typically run from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The meetings are free and open to the public and all Richmond Northside 3rd Voter District residents are invited and encouraged to attend. The planned agenda for the upcoming meeting is as follows:

AGENDA

  • Meet the New Commander of the Fourth Police Precinct Commander William “Jody” Blackwell, Fourth Police Precinct and Lieutenant Keshawn Manns, Police Sector 412 Richmond Police Department – Fourth Police Precinct Commander Blackwell and Lt. Manns will lead a discussion on the current issues that have developed in the area of the Richmond Northside 3rd Voter District, and will discuss the role of the Richmond Police Department in the community.
  • The Future of 3000 Chamberlayne Avenue
    Mr. James Bullard and Ms. Aisha Bullard
    Richmond Urban Ministry Institute
    Discussion of intended uses for the building at 3000 Chamberlayne Avenue, formerly the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) School of Urban Ministry.Introduction to Granicus: Richmond City Council’s New Legislative Tracking Database Portal
  • Introduction to Granicus: Richmond City Council’s New Legislative Tracking Database Portal
    Ms. Jean V. Capel, City Clerk
    Richmond City Council Office of the City Clerk

WHEN Thursday, February 25, 2016, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

WHERE Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center, 4901 Old Brook Road, Richmond, Virginia

WHO The Honorable Chris A. Hilbert, Councilman, Richmond City Council, Richmond Northside 3rd Voter District

CONTACT For more information, please contact Councilman Chris A. Hilbert, at 804.646.6055 or chris.hilbert@richmondgov.com.

Councilman Hilbert’s schedule of future meetings:

WHERE/ Locations To Be Announced
WHEN

  • Thursday, March 24, 2016
  • Thursday, April 28, 2016
  • Thursday, May 26, 2016
  • Thursday, June 30, 2016
  • Thursday, July 28, 2016
  • Thursday, August 25, 2016
  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Downtown

Legislature advances bill allowing nursing homes to administer medical cannabis

Virginia lawmakers continue to fine tune legislation that aligns with the state’s growing medical cannabis program by advancing two Senate bills that would facilitate the work of caregivers and lab employees. 

Capital News Service

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By Chip Lauterbach

Virginia lawmakers continue to fine tune legislation that aligns with the state’s growing medical cannabis program by advancing two Senate bills facilitating the work of caregivers and lab employees.

SB 185 sponsored by Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, would allow employees at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospices to administer CBD and THC-A oil to residents who have a valid written certification to use the medication. SB 885 from Sen. David W. Marsden, D-Fairfax, would remove criminal liabilities for analytical lab workers who transport and possess both substances during the course of their work.

Marsden also introduced legislation to protect individuals from possession charges for having marijuana in the form of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil, if they have valid written certification from a practitioner.

In 2019, Dunnavant and Marsden helped pass legislation signed by the governor to reduce restrictions for patient access to the substances (SB 1557, SB 1719).

CBD products are used to treat epilepsy and to help with pain management for a variety of ailments. The product can be extracted from hemp, a plant in the cannabis family that is typically low in THC. The non psychoactive version of THC is THC-A; it does not produce a high. THC-A has been used to treat seizures, arthritis and chronic pain. Fibers of the hemp plant are also used in making rope, clothing, paper and other products. Hemp recently became legal at the federal level, and its cultivation is still regulated.

There is a distinction between hemp-derived CBD oil and marijuana-derived CBD oil, namely the level of THC present.

Dunnavant told a Senate panel that the bill is needed so that staff at assisted living facilities can be included as those authorized to store and administer both CBD and THC-A to residents and patients. Registered nurses and licensed practice nurses can legally administer the oils. Last year lawmakers passed legislation protecting school nurses from prosecution for possessing or distributing such oils, in accordance with school board policy.

Several nursing homes and assisted living facilities when contacted said that currently the use of CBD or THC-A are not allowed at their locations and that there are no immediate plans to incorporate such use into the care of their residents or patients.

Marsden sees his bill as an opportunity for further research and development of medical marijuana in Virginia. The state pharmaceutical processors permitted to manufacture and dispense marijuana-derived medications can distribute products with doses that do not exceed 10 milligrams of THC.

“If a laboratory is going to handle a drug that is marijuana, they need immunity from prosecution.” Marsden said. “Even if we go into decriminalization, that still has some civil penalties for it.”

Richmonder Brion Scott Turner is glad that steps are being made towards CBD becoming more available. Turner uses CBD to help with his own medical condition.

“I use a CBD infused lotion for my psoriasis,” Turner said. “It gives me relief from the itching and the psoriatic arthritis that comes with it.

Turner has said that most of his friends and family use CBD to help with a variety of ailments from minor headaches to anxiety attacks.

“My mother uses CBD for anything from lower back pain, helping with an upset stomach or even migraines,” Turner said.

Other cannabis related bills moving through the General Assembly include HB 972, which would decriminalize simple possession of marijuana down to a civil penalty of no more than $25. The Senate version of the bill carries a civil penalty of no more than $50.

HJ 130, currently in the Senate Committee of Rules, would direct the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study options for the regulation of recreational adult use and medical use of cannabis. SJ 67, which has passed the House and Senate, directs JLARC to study options and make recommendations for how Virginia should go about the growth, sale and possession of marijuana. JLARC’s recommendations are due by July 1, 2022.

Both Dunnavant and Marsden’s bills reported out of committee and are headed to the House floor.

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More than 350 new apartments coming to Scott’s Addition as part of largest yet development

An entire block at Roseneath and West Moore Street will be transformed into a six-story apartment complex according to plans filed with the City of Richmond.

RVAHub Staff

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From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Plans are underway for one of the largest apartment complexes to be built in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood.

The 350-unit apartment building would take up most of a city block bounded by Roseneath Road, Mactavish Avenue and West Moore and Norfolk streets.

The six-story building would be across Roseneath Road from The Dairy Bar restaurant and across Moore Street from Väsen Brewing Co. and Stella’s Grocery gourmet market.

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Downtown

INTERACTIVE: Groups split over proposed overdose immunity bill

Groups, including former drug users, are split over a Senate bill that would give immunity to both someone reporting or experiencing an overdose. In a recent unanimous vote, the Senate passed Senate Bill 667, introduced by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax. The bill expands on the current protection offered only to the person reporting the overdose, who can be charged but has an affirmative defense which leads to dropped or reduced charges when proven they reported an overdose.

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By Joseph Whitney Smith

Groups, including former drug users, are split over a Senate bill that would give immunity to both someone reporting or experiencing an overdose.

In a recent unanimous vote, the Senate passed Senate Bill 667, introduced by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax. The bill expands on the current protection offered only to the person reporting the overdose, who can be charged with a crime but has an affirmative defense, which leads to dropped or reduced charges when proven they reported an overdose.

This new bill would offer immunity to both the person reporting the overdose and experiencing the overdose, meaning no charges would be filed. The bill protects individuals from arrest or prosecution for the unlawful purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol, controlled substances, marijuana or having drug paraphernalia.

The legislation also states that no officers acting in good faith will be found liable for false arrest if it is later determined the individual arrested was immune from prosecution because they overdosed or reported an overdose.

“In Virginia, friends often do not call for help for fear of being arrested,” Boysko said at the committee hearing for the bill.

Boysko told Senate members that every second matters in an overdose and that data show bystanders are three times more likely to call 911 when there is a safe reporting law such as her proposed bill. She also said that the state needs to stop criminalizing individuals that are attempting to seek urgent help for themselves or others.

“Virginia’s death toll from opioid overdoses continues to rise despite state and local government spending millions of dollars to make naloxone available,” Boysko said. “More than 1,500 died just in 2019 in Virginia from drug overdoses.”

According to the Virginia Department of Health, overdose is the leading cause of unnatural death in the state since 2013, followed by motor vehicle related and gun deaths.

“With the new law we’re looking at a healthcare solution for a healthcare crisis,” said Nathan Mitchell, who said he was previously addicted to drugs. Mitchell now serves as the community outreach and advocacy coordinator at the McShin Foundation. Mitchell said the proposed bill does not provide protection for crimes such as distribution or a firearm at the scene of the overdose, only drug and paraphernalia possession.

According to Mitchell, drug incarceration is inconsistent in the commonwealth. He said after his first drug-related arrest he wasn’t introduced to a recovery program. But, after his second arrest, he received treatment through the help of the McShin Foundation. He said that inconsistency is an example that not all individuals who overdose will have access to the same treatment.

Drug courts are specialized courts where individuals plead guilty and agree to complete the drug court program. Not every locality in the commonwealth has a drug court, though state law authorizes any locality to establish one with the support of existing and available local, state and federal resources.

Mitchell said that individuals may not report an overdose to help protect the individual overdosing from being charged with a crime. He said that’s why a bill granting immunity to both parties is important.

John Shinholser, president and co-founder of the McShin Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on recovery education and recovery, testified in favor of Boysko’s bill.

“This is evidence-based, data-driven proof that this bill will reduce deaths in Virginia during this crisis,” Shinholser said.

Goochland County resident Micheal McDermott spoke in opposition of Boysko’s bill during the Senate committee meeting. McDermott said he’s been in recovery from substance abuse disorder for over 28 years. The bill has good intentions but immunity should only be given to the person reporting, not overdosing, McDermott said.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.

There’s no guarantee that an overdose victim treated by paramedics will find recovery, McDermott said. If the person overdosing is on probation, they should receive a probation violation, and perhaps get the needed court-mandated treatment.

Westmoreland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Julia Sichol spoke last month at a House subcommittee in opposition to similar legislation that failed to advance, on behalf of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Sichol said she thinks a bill offering immunity “can also cause harm to lives” because it keeps the person overdosing from being charged with a crime and could possibly prevent them from receiving court-mandated treatment.

“Drug treatment is extremely expensive and sometimes the only way to get the treatment for the individuals is through the court system,” Sichol said. “If you take away the ability for individuals to be charged who have overdosed they are not eligible to participate in drug treatment program, they are not eligible to go through the court system under mandated treatment.”

On Friday, SB 667 was assigned to a House subcommittee.

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