Legal, programming questions raised over marijuana seed distribution event in Henrico

Henrico County

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — With simple marijuana possession legal for the first time in Virginia, people around Richmond celebrated their new rights.

However, enforcing the new measures may be an adjustment for police to monitor who is acting legally, and not.

The catch to Virginia’s marijuana legalization falls under possession; Virginians cannot posess or smoke the substance in public, but are allowed to privately.

For people looking to grow their own plants today at a marijuana seed distribution event, confusion rose days prior if the dissemination would be legal.

Marijuana seeds were handed out at The Your CBD Store near Short Pump Thursday afternoon. The seeds for the event were provided by Virginia Marijuana Justice.

Store Owner Jennifer Elliott called Thursday “a very monumental day,” but recognized the demand at her store was so high, changes had to be made to prevent the event from shutting down.

A line wrapped around the shopping center and blocked doors to other businesses, prompting Henrico police to respond.

“But now people are getting text messages in order to come a couple of time,” Elliott said about those seeking seeds.

While the police response was to control crowd size, legal questions arose before the event. 

Would this be legal? Would it happen in a public or private space? Distribution of seeds privately would be allowed, but this event happened inside a store. 

Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor explained today’s format would be permitted, based on what her office was told by those putting on the event.

“It was our understanding that the commercial space was in fact going to be closed to the public, and therefore we were reviewing that as a private situation. Therefore any type of exchange, adult sharing would be permissible by two adults over 21 in a private space,” Taylor said.

However, she said if the seeds were being exchanged for something of value, or could coerce someone to buy something at the store, this event could face legal trouble. 

Based on what her office was told by police, Taylor said her office likely will not pursue charges related to today’s seed distribution event.

Though a joyous event for those seeking seeds, Alyssa Coleman’s trip from Powhatan came up short. She signed up for seeds, said she waited forty five minutes in the parking lot, but was told the store was out of seeds.

“We’ve been waiting for this, I know a lot of older people have been waiting for this a lot longer than I have,” Coleman said.

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