Over to You — New Alert System, Alcohol and Marijuana Laws Go Into Effect – Farmville
VSFollowing up on last week’s newsletter, I wanted to update voters on other laws that passed in the 2022 session and have come into force in the Commonwealth since July 1.
MARCUS ALERT SYSTEM
Marcus alert system; participation. (HB1191/SB361) — Allows small communities to opt out of the “Marcus Alert” law, a measure passed in 2020 that aimed to improve the response to mental and behavioral health emergencies.
The law called for localities to implement a system requiring mental health professionals to join law enforcement when responding to incidents where people were experiencing a mental health crisis.
It was agreed to change the law this year to give localities with fewer than 40,000 people an opt-out option, citing cost concerns and a shortage of behavioral health workers in smaller localities. Of Virginia’s 133 localities, 89 have fewer than 40,000 residents.
Control of alcoholic beverages; delivery of alcoholic beverages; third-party delivery license; container. (HB426/ SB254) — Creates a third-party license that allows the licensee to deliver alcoholic beverages purchased from businesses licensed by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.
casino games; sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in casino gaming establishments; casino employees; betting, accounting and gaming (HB455/SB519) – Creates a new mixed drink casino license for on-site consumption during all business hours and allowing a licensee to offer alcoholic beverages to patrons, establishing loyalty or reward programs.
Control of alcoholic beverages; transportation of alcoholic beverages. (HB325) – Increases the number of alcoholic beverages a person can carry within the Commonwealth from one gallon to three gallons and consolidates the current law regarding the transportation of alcoholic beverages into or within the Commonwealth.
Pharmaceutical Processors (HB933/SB671) — Amends the definition of “cannabis oil” by removing the requirement that only industrial hemp oil be used in the cannabis oil formulation. The bill removes the requirement for patient registration with the Board of Pharmacy for medical cannabis, but retains the requirement that patients obtain written certification from a healthcare provider for medical cannabis.
The change will allow medical cannabis patients to purchase marijuana products from dispensaries after receiving a certificate from a licensed practitioner. As well as saving them from waiting for a license from the council, a process that can take months, the law will also allow patients to avoid having to pay a $50 application fee.
SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL
Civil Action for Dissemination of Sexually Explicit Visual Material to Others (SB493) — Provides that anyone 18 years of age or older who knowingly transmits an intimate image, as defined in the bill, by computer or other electronic means to the computer or communication device of another person 18 years of age or older where that other person has not consented to the use of his or her computer or electronic communication device for the receipt of such material or has expressly prohibited the receipt of such material will be considered trespassing and shall be liable to the recipient of the intimate image for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, plus costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
The United States Department of the Treasury announced that Virginia is one of four states that will receive funding to expand access to high-speed Internet service in rural areas as part of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund from the American Rescue Plan. The Commonwealth will receive $219 million.
The funding will expand broadband access to approximately 76,873 locations. About 28% of communities in Virginia lack access to high-quality broadband, impacting farmers and the rural population of the Commonwealth.
Local governments that partner with Internet service providers can apply for funding through a grant program run by the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative.
Starting July 16, Virginians can call or text 988 to connect with trained counselors who are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The current phone number (1-800-273-8255) will remain available, but stakeholders hope the three-digit code will make support more accessible with their goal of answering 95% of calls from phone numbers. Virginie within 20 seconds.
CrisisLink operates one of two centers serving the Commonwealth. Out-of-state numbers will not be routed to Virginia-based centers initially, as this will require additional federal approval, but those requiring additional services will eventually be referred to in-state providers. .
Most 988 calls can be resolved over the phone, but some will require more intensive in-person services. The state’s mobile response to the crisis is in its very early stages, which means law enforcement will likely continue to play a role in the most serious mental health calls for the foreseeable future.
OF THE. C. MATTHEW FARISS represents Buckingham in the Virginia House of Delegates. His email address is [email protected]