Central Virginia Marijuana Prevention Task Force

Virginia’s laws regarding cannabis are changing and this means that more people are talking about marijuana.  Prepare yourself for these conversations.

SAFE is not a legal resource.  For up-to-date information regarding the new laws refer to https://cannabis.virginia.gov/

Marijuana can have many negative mental and physical effects on you including decreased athletic performance, making you slower to react when driving, and pregnancy complications.  For more information on the risks of marijuana visit SAMHSA’s reference page https://www.samhsa.gov/marijuana.

Even with the changing laws it is still completely illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use or possess marijuana. It is important that parents and caregivers talk to their children about the facts about underage use of marijuana and other drugs.  Visit Talking with Your Teen About Marijuana (samhsa.gov) or download the Talk They Hear You Mobile App for guidance on how to start the conversation.

If you are concerned about your child (whether they are already using marijuana or not) visit https://drugfree.org/article/marijuana-what-you-need-to-know/.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse also has science-based information on teen drug use at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/.

Using marijuana and other substances to deal with the stresses of life?  To learn about some healthy alternatives, visit https://www.the5bridges.com/chesterfield for free on-demand wellness workshops.   If you or someone you know needs help related to substance use visit Community Service Boards – BeWellVa to learn how to access your local Community Services Board or call the Alive RVA Peer Recovery Warm Line at 1-833-4PEERVA.

The Problem with Marijuana Potency

Lessons Learned from State Marijuana Legalization

                                                 Our Mission

MJ Logo

The mission of the Central Virginia Marijuana Prevention Task Force is to engage and empower Virginia communities to reduce and prevent marijuana use. Our vision is to have a community that is well educated about the public health and safety impacts of marijuana use.

What We Do

  • The CVMPTF is a collaboration of key stakeholders from multiple localities. Our collaborative partners include members from law enforcement, prevention services, treatment centers, public school systems, health departments, drug courts, substance abuse coalitions, private citizens, Commonwealth Attorney’s office, fire and EMS, etc.
  • We are striving to ensure our communities are well educated about the public health and safety impacts of marijuana use.
  • We are able to share valuable resource materials with your organization.
  • We are concerned about the implications of legalizing marijuana in VA.
  • To get involved contact Regina Whitsett at 804-694-7794 or whitsett@chesterfieldsafe.org

Don’t be fooled by the medical marijuana smokescreen. Every state that has legalized recreational marijuana started off by passing seemingly harmless “medical marijuana” laws.

Marijuana legalization and what you need to know!

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Check out this handout from Virginia Poison Center and Blue Ridge Poison Center about what parents and caregivers need to know about marijuana.

CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory

In the News!

Victory in Congress! Lawmakers reject Big Marijuana’s agenda!


 Student vs. Marijuana

Our grave concerns of marijuana stem from youth survey data reported across the Commonwealth that indicates youth are smoking marijuana more than cigarettes, and marijuana is more easily accessible than cigarettes.  For this reason, SAFE targets middle school students with its “Student vs. Marijuana” presentation. “Student vs. Marijuana” is a dramatization of what happens when a student is caught with marijuana at school.  As the drama unfolds the student audience becomes very attentive as they see the many layers of consequences that result from making a bad decision.

Click here to view one of the 2014 dramatizations.

Virginia Marijuana Laws

Did you know?

Any person who is convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana shall be confined in jail for not more than 30 days and/or fined not more than $500; any person upon a second or subsequent conviction of a violation is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and/or a fine of not more than $2,500. Any marijuana possession conviction will result in the loss of the privilege to drive or operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth for a period of six months from the date of such judgement or placement on probation.

Did you know?

Any person who sells or possesses with intent to sell drug paraphenalia may be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor can lead to confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.

Did you know?

Any person who sells, gifts, distributes or possesses with intent to sell, give or distribute:

*not more than one-half ounce of marijuana is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor;

*more than one-half ounce but no more than five pounds of marijuana is guilty of a Class 5 felony;

* more than five pounds of marijuana is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than five or more than 30 years.

Any person who manufactures marijuana, or possesses marijuana with the intent to manufacture such substance, not for his own use is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than five or more than 30 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Marijuana is STILL illegal in Virginia!

Marijuana Addiction

Overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system by marijuana use can cause changes in the brain that lead to addiction, a condition in which a person cannot stop using a drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. It is estimated that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. The number goes up to about 17 percent in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25 to 50 percent among daily users. According to the 2013 NSDUH, marijuana accounted for 4.2 million of the estimated 6.9 million Americans dependent on or abusing illicit drugs. (NIH)

Effects of MarijuanaCannabis-3

  • Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental.

Physical affects

  • Breathing problems
  • Increased heart rate
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy

Mental affects

  • Temporary hallucinations
  • Temporary paranoia
  • Worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia

Marijuana use has also been linked to other mental health problems, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts among teens

Who Does Marijuana Impact?

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Marijuana impacts everybody!

 More information regarding marijuana’s impact can be found at the National Institute of Drug Abuse website.

  • Research has shown that marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off, depending on the user’s history with the drug.
  • Considerable evidence suggests that students who smoke marijuana have poorer educational outcomes than their nonsmoking peers.
  • Several studies have also linked heavy marijuana use to lower income, greater welfare dependence, unemployment, criminal behavior, and lower life satisfaction.
  • It is possible that other factors independently predispose people to both marijuana use and various negative life outcomes such as school dropout.
  • When asked how marijuana affected their cognitive abilities, career achievements, social lives, and physical and mental health, the majority of heavy users reported that marijuana had negative effects in all these areas of their lives.
  • Studies have also suggested specific links between marijuana use and adverse consequences in the workplace, such as increased risk for injury or accidents.

Marijuana Educational Resources

The Marijuana Report

MJ Resource List updated 10-05-15

Rocky Mountain HIDTA

DBHDS-SASC Annual Substance Abuse report (2)

Talking with Your Teen About Marijuana

Youth and Marijuana | CDPHE

Cannabis Awareness and Prevention Toolkit | Stanford Medicine