Daily Press _Newport News,VA_ 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2017
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1 US VA: Teen Spice User: 'It's The New Crack'Sun, 18 May 2014
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Salasky, Prue Area:Virginia Lines:138 Added:05/20/2014

Rehab, drug court gives NN teen new life

NEWPORT NEWS -- Spice took over his life in middle school. Nothing else mattered. Being high became the norm.

At 12, he picked up his first cigarette. Soon the Newport News teen, now 18, was smoking marijuana, too. "Cigarettes and weed," he said in a single breath, making no distinction. "Weed was just part of life. I smoked weed all the time -- after school, every weekend."

Halfway through eighth grade, he moved on to spice, which had the advantage of being cheaper and, at the time, both legally obtainable and undetectable in drug screens.

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2 US VA: Spice Sellers Undisturbed In Newport News, HamptonSun, 18 May 2014
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Shapiro, Michael Welles Area:Virginia Lines:132 Added:05/20/2014

Police Mum on Potential Investigations

NEWPORT NEWS -- If you listen to the U.S. Navy, Newport News and Hampton are problem cities for the retail sale of spice.

But unlike nearby counties the two cities haven't raided stores that sell spice, which a local prosecutor and a defense attorney both say has everything to do with a state statute that makes convictions tricky.

There's one standard for sailors and another one -- a higher one -- for a prosecutor seeking a conviction, said Anton Bell, Hampton's commonwealth's attorney.

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3 US VA: Motivational Speaker Learned From Juvenile Drug CourtThu, 09 Aug 2012
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Lawlor, Joe Area:Virginia Lines:84 Added:08/10/2012

NEWPORT NEWS -- When Quwanisha Hines was arrested numerous times as a juvenile for crimes related to abusing alcohol and drugs, she could see her life going down the wrong path.

One day, she said, she started imagining her future, and it wasn't pretty.

In addition to smoking marijuana, she was drinking a six-pack of beer every day, or two large malt liquors --and more on the weekends. Normally a "B" student, her grades slipped to "Ds" and "Fs."

"I saw my life flash before my eyes," said Hines, now 21.

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4 US VA: Pat Robertson, A Hero To HippiesSat, 10 Mar 2012
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Dietrich, Tamara Area:Virginia Lines:113 Added:03/15/2012

Televangelist Pat Robertson has never been my go-to guy for proof that there is a God, but last week he made me believe in miracles.

The Virginia Beach-based Southern Baptist and public scold announced we should stop criminalizing marijuana and treat it like beverage alcohol because our endless war on drugs is bankrupting us, spiritually and financially.

"We here in America make up 5 percent of the world's population, but we make up 25 percent of jailed prisoners," Robertson said on a recent broadcast of The 700 Club.

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5 US VA: Editorial: Notes And NotablesThu, 26 Jan 2012
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA)          Area:Virginia Lines:85 Added:01/27/2012

A Weekly Roundup of Short Opinions Offered by the Daily Press Editorial Board

Stop and smell the Mozart

What do a professional third baseman and an orchestral percussionist have in common?

To some legislators, it's not just that they're both five-tool players.

Del. G. Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond argues symphony musicians should be treated like sports team members when it comes to unemployment claims. He's sponsoring a bill that would deny symphony members benefits during the months they aren't under contract.

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6 US VA: McDonnell Seeks Tougher Penalties For Repeat DrugThu, 19 Jan 2012
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Wilson, Todd Allen Area:Virginia Lines:103 Added:01/20/2012

Gov. Also Looks to Expand Drug Courts As Part of Public Safety Agenda

RICHMOND -- Gov. Bob McDonnell announced his public safety agenda for the General Assembly session Thursday which includes increased sentences for repeat drug dealers, expansion of local drug courts and an alternative program for non-violent offenders who violate probation.

"Public safety really is the first and foremost duty of government at every level," McDonnell said. "People must feel safe in their homes, their neighborhoods, their church, their synagogue if they are going to really get access to the American dream."

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7 US VA: OPED: Decriminalize Marijuana, Ban SyntheticsSun, 23 Jan 2011
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Virginia Lines:91 Added:01/26/2011

Local Del. Glenn Oder (R - Newport News) has sponsored one of 17 bi-partisan bills to outlaw the sale and use of "synthetic marijuana" in the 2011 Virginia General Assembly session. In a year when the entire General Assembly is up for re-election, banning synthetic marijuana is one thing risk-averse legislators can agree on.

Synthetic marijuana is made from chemicals related to mothballs. The effects may be similar, but the chemicals are nothing like marijuana. The synthetics contain carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in amounts large enough to make tobacco look like health food in comparison. The comparative safety of organic marijuana is well established.

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8 US VA: OPED: Republican Leads On Marijuana ReformSun, 28 Nov 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Virginia Lines:103 Added:11/28/2010

Virginia is one of 18 states where the government operates a monopoly on the distribution and sale of hard liquor. Virginia's Alcohol Beverage Control stores are a holdover from alcohol prohibition. Lasting from 1920 to 1933, alcohol prohibition was repealed when it became clear that prohibition was financing organized crime while failing miserably at preventing alcohol use.

Making the case for ABC privatization, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has argued that selling alcohol is not a core government responsibility. Neither is criminalizing people who use marijuana.

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9 US VA: Column: Morgan Isn't Done With Pot BillsSat, 26 Jun 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Dietrich, Tamara Area:Virginia Lines:111 Added:06/28/2010

Del. Harvey Morgan isn't done yet.

The Gloucester Republican says his mission to reform Virginia's marijuana laws didn't end when his two bills to decriminalize its possession and expand its medical use were snuffed out in committee earlier this year.

He says he'll keep introducing bills till they pass.

Snickering colleagues aside.

"I'm gonna try anyway," Morgan affirmed in a recent news report.

Good for you, Harvey.

The delegate and I may not agree on much politically, but on this issue, conservatives and liberals can find a lush green acre of common ground.

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10 US VA: Morgan Says He'll Continue Fight For Medical MarijuanaWed, 23 Jun 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Groves, Stephen Area:Virginia Lines:125 Added:06/24/2010

Marijuana advocates in The Old Dominion have found an unlikely ally in Del. Harvey B. Morgan, a bespectacled 79-year-old Republican.

This year the Gloucester County lawmaker introduced a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession and a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana.

While both measures died in the House Courts of Justice Committee, they served as another reminder of the increasing pressure to move away from the prohibition mindset that has dominated U.S. drug policy since the 1980s.

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11 US VA: Marijuana Law: Hardship or Necessary Justice?Mon, 25 Jan 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA)          Area:Virginia Lines:122 Added:01/24/2010

RICHMOND -- When House of Delegates Republicans showed up for their daily caucus huddle and strategy session in the Capitol late last week, there was a plate of fresh brownies and a forged note waiting for them.

"Friends, Please enjoy these homemade brownies! -- Harvey Morgan" Conservative lawmakers pulled the munchies prank to tease Del. Harvey Morgan, a Gloucester pharmacist and Republican whose push to decriminalize pot possession and expand the state's medical marijuana statute caught many political observers off guard. In his third decade in the General Assembly, Morgan comes from the classic mold of the Virginia gentleman.

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12 US VA: Column: Marijuana Bill is a Whiff of Common SenseSat, 23 Jan 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Dietrich, Tamara Area:Virginia Lines:121 Added:01/24/2010

Republican legislators in Richmond say there's a better chance of getting gay marriage in Virginia than decriminalizing pot.

Actually, that's not quite how they put it. It was more like what Del. Dave Albo, a Republican from Fairfax County, said last week about a bill presented to the General Assembly by Chesapeake Republican Del. Harvey Morgan:

"(It's) going to be dead about as soon as he finishes his explanation."

And this is what qualifies as open, intelligent debate in Richmond -- the place where you don't need a tendon hammer to make knees jerk on cue.

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13 US VA: OPED: Virginia Should Legalize MarijuanaSun, 24 Jan 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Virginia Lines:95 Added:01/24/2010

It's not just "left coast" states like California and Washington that are considering marijuana law reforms to help balance state budgets. For the first time in years, the Virginia General Assembly will consider common-sense marijuana law reform. House Bill 1134 would replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil penalty of $500.

The bill's sponsor is no dope-smoking hippy; in fact, he is uniquely qualified to push the envelope. Del. Harvey Morgan is a Republican member of the Virginia General Assembly and an assistant clinical professor of pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University's medical school. His bill is grounded in legitimate clinical expertise and much-needed fiscal conservatism.

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14 US VA: General Assembly: Change In Marijuana Law Faces LongMon, 18 Jan 2010
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Payne, Kimball Area:Virginia Lines:79 Added:01/20/2010

RICHMOND - Radical legislation doesn't usually come out of Gloucester, but Del. Harvey Morgan is pushing to reform Virginia's marijuana laws so that possessing small amounts of pot is no longer an automatic felony.

Morgan, a long-serving Republican pharmacist from Gloucester, is sponsoring a pair of bills to overhaul how Virginia treats marijuana. One bill would decriminalize marijuana possession -- turning an automatic felony and 30-day jail sentence into a $500 fine. The other bill would allow broader use of medical marijuana.

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15 US VA: Local Prostitute Was Trapped In A Lifestyle Of DrugSat, 12 Dec 2009
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Kelly, Ashley Area:Virginia Lines:101 Added:12/13/2009

NEWPORT NEWS -- Numb from the drugs that ran through her petite body, Vanessa Rickerson returned to the streets after a stranger raped her.

She didn't know his name -- he was anonymous just like all the other men Rickerson met as a prostitute.

"You still go back and do it because you want that drug," recalls 39-year-old Rickerson, who needed the money to feed a heroin habit that wouldn't loosen its grip on her.

Then another man raped her. This one hit her to get what he wanted. She struggled to break the cycle of prostitution and drug addiction. It was a lifestyle that ended with Rickerson being convicted twice for prostitution. Talking from a tiny jail interview room, Rickerson recounted how she fell into this lifestyle.

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16 US VA: Isle of Wight, Other Rural Areas Seeing Uptick in Heroin PresenceFri, 11 Dec 2009
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Williams, Allison T. Area:Virginia Lines:73 Added:12/12/2009

ISLE OF WIGHT -- Heroin -- a narcotic more commonly found in urban areas -- is making inroads into rural Isle of Wight and Surry counties.

Authorities are still searching for [name redacted], 47, of Dendron, one of 22 people indicted Thursday on federal heroin drug trafficking charges.

The indictments allege that [name redacted] is a drug courier and a mid-level dealer for the drug ring, which stretched from New Jersey to Hampton Roads, according to federal officials.

[name redacted] is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

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17 US VA: Will Supreme Court Ruling Hinder Justice?Sun, 12 Jul 2009
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Dujardin, Peter Area:Virginia Lines:122 Added:07/12/2009

Local prosecutors are worried that a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in late June could hamstring the criminal justice system and cause some defendants to escape prosecution.

In a 5-4 ruling in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, the high court determined that prosecutors are responsible for having crime lab experts on hand for trials so that the defense can challenge their findings. That clashes with Virginia's court practices, which placed the responsibility on the defense attorney to request the analysts' presence.

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18 US VA: Was It Really A $12 Million Drug Haul At Phish Show?Sat, 14 Mar 2009
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Dujardin, Peter Area:Virginia Lines:72 Added:03/14/2009

Hampton police are standing by their estimate that $1.2 million worth of drugs were seized at three Phish concerts this past weekend - -- adding that "one very large bust" of marijuana accounted for a large part of the drugs seized.

The $1.2 million estimate is indeed a huge amount of drugs. It equates to an average seizure of $6,185 for each of the 194 people arrested on various felony and misdemeanor charges -- and some of them weren't charged with drug offenses.

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19 US VA: PUB LTE: Marijuana MarketMon, 23 Feb 2009
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Virginia Lines:53 Added:02/24/2009

Re: The editorial "So many criminals? It's time for a frank, calm discussion about decriminalizing marijuana." Marijuana decriminalization is merely a step in the right direction. There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana use and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records. What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

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20 US VA: Editorial: So Many Criminals?Sun, 11 Jan 2009
Source:Daily Press (Newport News,VA)          Area:Virginia Lines:140 Added:01/11/2009

It's Time For A Frank, Calm Discussion About Decriminalizing Marijuana

January 11, 2009

On Election Day, voters in Massachusetts took what they think will be a step forward for their state: They decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Before you brush that off with, "Well, that's Massachusetts for you," consider that this is a state with not only a liberal bent but a strong Puritan streak. This is a place where you can't buy wine in a grocery store or pick up beer in a 7-Eleven.

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