Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office weighs in on new date for legalized marijuana

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TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced he wants to push the legalization of marijuana up by three years.

Captain Jonathan Hankins with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, said not only the date change, but the passing in general is concerning.

“Unfortunately we don’t agree with the legalization of marijuana, but if that’s what the Governor signs then that’s what it’s going to be. But marijuana is a gateway drug, we’ve seen it it’s a proven fact. It starts with a little thing that grows into pills and into heroine and the methamphetamine,” said Cpt. Hankins.

Captain Hankins said although the legalization is being pushed up by three years, the sheriff’s office is prepared. Last year, they traded in their weed detecting K-9’s for others not trained on the drug. He said during the academy, officers are trained to detect drivers under the influence.

“Anything that’s mind altering, you cannot operate a motor vehicle while you’re under the influence. Whether it’s marijuana, or alcohol, or narcotics, because it still alters your mind and you can’t make effective decisions,” said Cpt. Hankins.

Governor Northam said marijuana will be taxed up to 21 percent. Captain Hankins said he believes that revenue should go to education and regulation.

Captain Hankins also warns of the potency. He said marijuana found on the street will most likely not be as strong as what is purchased through a state regulated dispensary. He said he believes this will cause a lot of vehicle accidents and potentially fatalities.

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