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Virginia attorney general announces plan to hire state’s first cannabis lawyer

“I’m hiring a dedicated attorney to help guide the commonwealth’s efforts because I am committed to getting this right, and to making sure that we keep Virginia at the forefront of national efforts to craft a more just, fair and sensible system for dealing with cannabis,” Herring said in a statement.

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Attorney General Mark Herring says he plans to hire a lawyer dedicated to marijuana law now that the state has legalized the drug.

The new addition to his staff would serve as a subject-matter expert as the state’s new Cannabis Control Authority, which Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Monday, begins work developing regulations that will govern the legal marijuana market expected to open in 2024.

“I’m hiring a dedicated attorney to help guide the commonwealth’s efforts because I am committed to getting this right, and to making sure that we keep Virginia at the forefront of national efforts to craft a more just, fair and sensible system for dealing with cannabis,” Herring said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Herring, a Democrat who was among the party’s earliest and loudest supporters of marijuana legalization, seeks reelection to his third term in office. He faces Republican Del. Jason Miyares, who voted against legislation that legalized marijuana possession.

Herring’s office said the new hire will provide advice on the new law to state agencies that deal with everything from taxation to healthcare.

Advocates, who have occasionally voiced frustration with the state’s Board of Pharmacy as it developed rules for the state’s medical marijuana program, said they hoped the additional legal expertise will make things smoother for the recreational marijuana market.

“It’s critical that the commonwealth have counsel available to state agencies who is well-versed in both state and federal cannabis policies,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.

Herring’s office says they’re looking for a lawyer with experience in business law, state and federal litigation, and “a strong knowledge of state and federal regulation of controlled substances.”

Under the legalization bill lawmakers passed earlier this year, employers can still refuse to hire or fire employees who use marijuana. A spokeswoman said the Office of the Attorney General does not conduct drug testing as a condition of employment.

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Robert Zullo for questions: [email protected] Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Suspect Sought in West Clay Street Burglary

At approximately 4:57 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, the man in the photos climbed a wall in the rear of a house, located in the 00 block of West Clay Street, broke into the residence and stole a computer and credit cards.

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Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify the individual in the attached photos who is a suspect in a residential burglary that occurred in the Jackson Ward neighborhood last month.

At approximately 4:57 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, the man in the photos climbed a wall in the rear of a house, located in the 00 block of West Clay Street, broke into the residence and stole a computer and credit cards. A photo of his distinctive pink and black sneakers is also attached.

 

Anyone with information about the identity of this person is asked to call Fourth Precinct Detective J. Land at (804) 646-3103 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Downtown

James River Park Trail Loop named one of America’s best running trails by Men’s Journal

Richmond’s trails were selected thanks to their top-notch views, rolling hills mixed in with a few steep climbs, creek and river crossings, and multiple access points and trailheads on either side of the river.

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The national health and fitness publication Men’s Journal recently published a list of the 15 best running trails in America, and the trails in Richmond’s James River Park System, including the North Bank and Buttermilk trails, were selected for the rankings, at number 11 overall.

Richmond’s trails were selected thanks to their top-notch views, rolling hills mixed in with a few steep climbs, creek and river crossings, and multiple access points and trailheads on either side of the river.

You can view the full list here.

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Downtown

Richmond citizens encouraged to create health profiles for first responders’ use in emergencies

To ensure data privacy, information is associated with an individual’s phone number and is made available only to first responders when a 911 call is placed from the associated phone number.

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Richmond residents now can share health information that could be critical to first responders serving them during an emergency or crisis.

Residents are encouraged to create a free emergency health profile at https://www.emergencyprofile.org/. Here, they can enter any health information of their choosing, such as mental health issues, developmental disabilities, pre-existing conditions, allergies, emergency contacts and more into the voluntary database. This information would be available to the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications and first responders in the case of an emergency or crisis.

To ensure data privacy, information is associated with an individual’s phone number and is made available only to first responders when a 911 call is placed from the associated phone number.

“Being able to receive a caller’s health information will better inform our staff and first responders during emergency response,” said Stephen Willoughby, director of the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications, which answers and dispatches 911 calls in Richmond. “I urge our community members to create their free emergency health profile, ensuring they are able to share critical data with 911 to help protect lives.”

Visit https://www.rva.gov/911/healthprofile for more information.

Virginia localities are required to create a voluntary database of health information as part of the MARCUS alert system, which was signed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Dec. 15, 2020. It is one of several initiatives that the city of Richmond and the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority will be launching to provide better services to those with mental health issues as part of the MARCUS alert system.

The emergency health profiles system provides real-time health and emergency contact information with 911, providing context beyond what callers in crisis are able to convey. The information provided is at the discretion of the individuals completing the profile. Individuals are encouraged to update their profile after any major health or life changes and in general once every six months. This life-saving information is available during an emergency to the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications and other emergency communications centers and first responders that use it, anywhere they are located.

The emergency technology company RapidSOS teamed up with The American Heart Association, The American Red Cross, and Direct Relief to launch this voluntary health database.

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