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Legal Review: Cannabidiol Continues to Gain Support

By criminal defense attorney Patrick Woolley, who is barred and practices in the state of Virginia, with Price Benowitz LLP.

Non-hallucinogenic medicinal marijuana, or cannabidiol, continues to gain legislative and medical support for its use in combating nausea and pain. Legislators in Virginia are considering a bill that would allow physicians to broadly prescribe cannabidiol (or cannabis oil, as it is commonly known) for any medically-diagnosed condition.

Cannabis oil has gained popularity recently as studies have shown the efficacy of marijuana in pain treatment. As there has been no corresponding increase in support for legalization of marijuana at a federal level, doctors and scientists have attempted to come up with alternative ways of delivering the benefits of marijuana in a form that does not run afoul of current federal laws.

Unfortunately, cannabis oil is considered a “Schedule 1” narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), meaning that from a federal standpoint, its production and distribution are illegal. However, many producers of cannabis oil claim that their products are derived from the hemp plant, making it legal.

Laws related to the possession, use, production and distribution of marijuana and any of its extracts currently vary from state to state. Several states have completely legalized the use of marijuana. Others still ban it completely, even when only used medicinally. Still others allow medicinal use but not recreational use.

“The state of the law related to marijuana and its derivatives throughout the United States is in an incredible amount of flux,” said Patrick Woolley, a criminal defense attorney in Virginia. “It is incumbent upon individuals who are looking to use cannabis oil or other products to ensure that use and possession of those items will not put them in serious legal jeopardy.”

What does this mean for a Virginia resident seeking to use cannabidiol for medical purposes? Currently, Woolley said, the use of cannabis oil is still illegal, even for medicinal purposes. If the proposed law passes, “the use of cannabis oil with a doctor’s prescription would be legal, but possession without a prescription would still be a crime,” said Woolley.

Additionally, possession of any other marijuana derivative, or marijuana itself, would not fall under the protections of this law.

Virginia residents who do avail themselves of any new Virginia law related to cannabis oil should be aware that the legality of something in Virginia does not make it legal everywhere else. If you are traveling to another state or another country, you should make yourself familiar with the possession and use laws of those states and countries, as well as any state or country you may be traveling through. You can still be charged with a crime in another state.

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Avg. Home Sale Price in Arlington Dipped Slightly in February

The average sale price of homes in Arlington dipped in February compared to one year prior, the first such dip for the month since 2014.

That’s according to data from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, which releases historical monthly data for the region and for localities including Arlington.

The general trend for February home sales has been up, however, since February 2010.

Despite the decrease in the average sale price, the number of homes — including condos, townhomes and single-family detached houses — sold in February 2018 was up 3.6 percent year over year, with a total of 175 homes sold. Selling prices were 1.48 percent less than the asking prices.

The median home selling price in Arlington in February, meanwhile, was up 0.44 percent to $532,353.

Average sale prices can be affected by changes in the mix of the types of homes sold. For instance, a higher percentage of condos — which typically sell for less than single-family homes — sold may cause a dip in the average. In February 2018, 62% of the homes sold in Arlington were condos, compared to 58% in February 2017.

Update at 5 p.m. — Another source of local real estate data, Bright MLS, is reporting a jump in Arlington’s median home selling price in March.

“Arlington County led the region for price, with a median selling price in March of $564,250,” WTOP reported Tuesday afternoon. “That’s up 11 percent from a year ago and topped D.C.’s median price of $555,451, which was up 3.8 percent.”

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Ballston-Based Drug Rehab Program Expands with Leeway-Overlee House

(Updated at 6:35 p.m.) Encore Recovery Solutions, a rehabilitation center for young adults trying to overcome “substance use and co-occurring behavioral health disorders,” is expanding.

The drug rehab center has been in business for just over a year and recently moved to larger offices in Ballston. The Ballston facility hosts an outpatient treatment program, according to Tom Walker, Encore’s director of community relations.

In February, Encore announced via Facebook that it had also purchased a residential property at 5805 26th Street N. in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood, for use as a “sober living environment for young adults.” The house has been approved as “legally non-conforming use by Arlington County,” Walker said.

Some people who live near the home have expressed concerns about its new use.

“We have communicated with several of the neighborhood residents individually, and attended the Open Door Monday meeting yesterday evening where we discussed our plans with other neighborhood residents,” Walker said via email. Some residents are “very much in opposition,” he acknowledged, while others are either “openly supportive of Encore’s efforts” or “willing to engage in discussing best practices.”

Between 2015-2017, Arlington saw a 245 percent increase in patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction and related disorders.  The number of patients went up from 100 in 2015 to 345 in 2017, according to the county.

Photo via Encore Recovery Solutions/Facebook

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Pantsuit Politics Podcast To Be Recorded at Annual Arlington ‘Blue Victory Dinner’

The popular political podcast Pantsuit Politics will turn the VIP reception at the annual Arlington Democrats “Blue Victory Dinner” into a “live podcast” event.

The bipartisan pair — Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers, both of Kentucky — will be recording their podcast at the event on April 21, according to a press release.

A number of female Democratic elected officials will be interviewed during the taping, including Del. Hala Ayala (D-51), who became one of the first Latina women to serve in the Virginia General Assembly this past November, and Del. Danica Roem (D-13), who became the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia after last year’s election.

Other recently-elected state officials, including Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-2), Del. Gwendolyn Wendy Gooditis (D-10), Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-31), Del. Karrie Delaney (D-67), and Del. Kathy Tran (D-42) are also expected to be interviewed.

The delegates will be discussing “why representation matters, the importance of inclusive representation, and how [the delegates] bring multi-layered experiences to governance and the legislative process.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is listed as the evening’s keynote speaker.

Photo via Arlington Democrats

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AWLA Takes In 70 Animals In Large Shelter Transfer

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington took in about 70 cats and dogs this past Friday (April 6) from shelters across Virginia and West Virginia.

Four staff members traveled to different parts of Virginia, but shelter staff from the West Virginia brought the animals to Arlington themselves.

The AWLA accepts animals weekly from the West Virginia shelter, and the large number of transfer requests from Virginia shelters wasn’t tied to any specific event, according to Chelsea Lindsey, the league’s communications specialist. The other shelters are simply high-intake and at capacity, and can’t easily adopt out all of the animals in their region.

Even though shelter transfers aren’t unusual, it was still a larger intake than usual for the AWLA.

“That’s a big number for us to take in in one day,” Lindsey told ARLnow.com, adding that she expects many of the kittens to be “snatched up quickly.”

About 50 of the animals were mother cats with kittens, and have been placed with foster families mainly in Arlington and Alexandria. Those kittens will have to wait until they are at least eight weeks old before being adopted out, in addition to hitting weight targets and being fixed.

Only one animal, a cat, from the large shelter transfer is ready for adoption. The dogs all need to be fixed and several of the cats have what Lindsey called “kitty colds.”

Photos courtesy of Animal Welfare League of Arlington

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Cook Brothers: Arlington’s No. 1 Remodeler by ‘Focusing on Reducing Risk’

Cook Brothers Design/Build Remodeling doesn’t expect to be invited to every home renovation bid in Arlington, but as the No. 1 remodeler in Arlington, they can’t understand why they wouldn’t be at the kitchen table.

“All we do is renovate homes in Arlington County,” says Steven Tinter, president and general manager. “We don’t do new homes, we don’t remodel homes in Maryland or D.C. or other places in Virginia.

“Arlington County is all we’ve done for 31 years. If you’re not talking to us, you’ll be missing out.”

Cook Brothers focuses on risk reduction, which is vital when it comes to one of the most expensive expenditures a homeowner will encounter.

“Lowest bid? That is not our goal,” Tinter says flatly. “We’re typically not going to be the least-cost provider. Our prices are very competitive but we definitely are going to be the least-risk provider. And we’re going to give homeowners the best value because of that.”

Cook Brothers is the No. 1 remodeler in Arlington based on the number of building permits issued since the year 2000, when the county began recording them electronically. Those nearly 300 permits outpaces the second place contractor, a national franchised company, by more than a third.

“Reducing risk” is not only important but necessary for Arlington homeowners. “Arlington homes are modest, but they’re expensive homes,” he says. And many of them are older, with residual quirks from previous builders. Cook Brothers’ experience in the area gives them an advantage when it comes to encountering challenges distinct to Arlington homes.

But no matter how good the plans look on the kitchen table, it’s the skilled craftsmen and women of Cook Brothers who do the work. Tinter says his 18-year-round employees have been with the company “on average, close to 10 years. In our industry, that’s remarkable and something we’re proud of. We retain people by treating them well. We’ve made a commitment to our people and it shows. And that’s how we keep our costs consistent.”

Cook Brothers is at 5521 Lee Highway in Arlington. Call 703-536-0900 or email at [email protected]. The website is here: cookbros.org.

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Ask Eli: Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Play Critical Role In Arlington

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What is the role of Business Improvement Districts in Arlington?

Answer: The Business Improvement Districts (BID) of Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City deserve much of the credit for turning these neighborhoods from convenient places to work to lively, family-friendly places to live.

Funded primarily by businesses located in the neighborhoods they represent, BIDs are an important bridge between residents, businesses and local government. Homeowners located in or near any of these BIDs can thank their leadership teams for increasing the value of their homes.

As a long-time Rosslyn resident, I have watched as Mary-Claire Burick and her team at the Rosslyn BID have transformed Rosslyn over the last five years.

I reached out to her for an interview to answer some questions about the role of BIDs in the community and how residents can take advantage of their influence on local government and business investment. Thank you Mary-Claire!

What is the role of a BID, and what role does the Rosslyn BID play in the community?

Business Improvement Districts are nimble organizations that wear a lot of different hats. In Rosslyn, we work on urban planning, transportation and business and community engagement, just to name a few.

But I think one of the most important roles that we play is that of a convener who brings together the perspectives of various stakeholders in our neighborhood –including residents, businesses and county officials — to advance initiatives that will help our community continue to thrive.

We are in constant conversation with folks on the street, in our restaurants and in our business community to better understand not only what they love about Rosslyn but also what they want to see improved.

How does the Rosslyn BID engage with residents and visitors? 

As I mentioned, community engagement is one of our top priorities.

Probably our most visible presence on a daily basis is our Rosslyn Ambassadors Program. Our team is out on the street five days a week helping residents and visitors with directions and working to ensure our sidewalk and public areas are safe and clean. Be sure to say hello when you see them around the neighborhood in their purple shirts.

Our events are another important way that we connect and engage with area residents. In 2017, around 40,000 people attended more than 160 events that we hosted ranging from our popular Rosslyn Jazz Fest and Rosslyn Cinema series to lunchtime fitness sessions and pop-up concerts. Each one of these events represents a touch point for our team to engage with residents and employees in our region, and for interaction between these groups.

It’s that sense of community that these events help build that makes them so impactful.

What have been some of the BID’s most successful events?

Last year’s Rosslyn Jazz Fest was an incredible experience.

That event alone brought nearly 10,000 people to Gateway Park on one day, which was a record for us. The Rosslyn Cinema has long been a neighborhood favorite. Last summer, more than 20,000 people came out to catch their favorite movie. And it may surprise you, but Rosslyn is the largest pit stop for Bike to Work Day in all of D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

In 2018, we will continue to host these popular events, but are also introducing new activities and expanding others.

One example is the Rosslyn Farmers’ Market, which occurs weekly during the summer in Central Place Plaza. We’ve worked with FRESHFARM to introduce a new FRESHFARM Share program, similar to a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, to help bring more healthy food to Rosslyn residents and businesses.

I’d also like to point out that these events have a wider purpose and impact. They help bring thousands of visitors to Rosslyn who could one day be residents or tenants. And there’s an economic impact–restaurants and retail in Rosslyn usually see a boost in sales and exposure.

Some of the other local BIDs are Crystal City, Ballston and Georgetown. What are some of the most significant benefits of a community having a BID? Does a BID make sense for every community? 

From my perspective, there are a lot of benefits that a community can realize from having a BID. But simply having a BID alone isn’t enough. It’s important for all of the stakeholders to have a clear vision for what they want to accomplish, and to ensure a BID has the resources and buy-in to help realize that vision.

A BID with a distinct mission can be a leading driver of change for a community, serving as a liaison between government, businesses and residents. Residents, in particular, have a real opportunity to utilize BIDs to help create a viable, economically sustainable community that reflects their vision of the neighborhood.

How have new restaurants and retail spaces helped change Rosslyn? Are there any openings you are particularly excited about?

Restaurants and retail have been a critical part of Rosslyn’s transformation from a commercial area to a more vibrant, urban, mixed-use area. Between 2015 and 2017, 17 new restaurants opened in Rosslyn, adding to the more than 65 restaurants, cafés and markets within a ten-minute walk of the Rosslyn Metro. We’ve also seen more restaurants and bars staying open later, like Barley Mac, Quinn’s on the Corner and Continental.

This year, we’re looking forward to the continued evolution of Central Place, which is bringing multiple new restaurant offerings to the heart of Rosslyn. I think folks are going to be really excited to hear what they have in the pipeline.

We are also excited for the Central Place Observation Deck, opening this summer. This 12,000 square-foot-space will offer an unparalleled view of the Mall and the U.S. Capitol. Offering snacks and light fare, the Observation Deck will be the perfect place to bring out-of-town friends, a date or a colleague for an after work drink.

How can residents get involved with their local BID? 

Residents should utilize their local BIDs to advocate for what they would like to see in their community. Remember, a BID is there to serve the needs of a neighborhood’s residents as well as its businesses and visitors.

Residents can also get involved with their local BID by attending events, participating in community meetings and providing feedback on BID activities. Depending on an individual’s local BID, there may be opportunities to volunteer or be a community ambassador.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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DC United Players to Flip Chickens at Rosslyn Nando’s for Charity

Six D.C. United soccer players will be taking over the grills in the Rosslyn new Nando’s Peri-Peri on Thursday (April 12) to benefit the team’s charity partner, D.C. Scores.

All of the proceeds earned that day at Nando’s will go towards D.C. Scores, a non-profit that offers free after school soccer and literacy programs to at-risk D.C. youth.

The players will be using Nando’s grills from 2-8 p.m. The team and Nando’s will also be raffling off a signed team item and a pair of tickets to the D.C. United v. Columbus Crew SC match on April 14.

The location at 1800 N. Lynn Street opened almost a month ago and is one of the chain’s now 41 U.S. locations.

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Arlington Named Nation’s Top Place for Runners

Arlington has been named the No. 1 best “city” for runners, according to new rankings from the website SmartAsset.

From the 2018 rankings:

Anyone who lives and runs in Arlington is probably aware of the large number of races in the city. According to our data, no city in the study has more races relative to population size than Arlington.

And if road races are not your speed, there are plenty of other ways to run in this city. It has top 10 scores for number of gyms per 10,000 residents and percent of residents who have park access.

The top 10 best cities for runners, according to the rankings, are:

  1. Arlington, Va.
  2. Minneapolis, Minn.
  3. Madison, Wis. (tie)
  4. San Francisco, Calif. (tie)
  5. Seattle, Wash.
  6. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. St. Paul, Minn.
  9. Boston, Mass.
  10. Denver, Colo.

The rankings took into account “number of races per 10,000 residents, walkability, safety, housing cost as a percent of income, gyms per 10,000 residents, percent of a city covered by parkland and percent of residents with access to a park.”

Image via SmartAsset

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Morning Notes

Arlington Woman Killed in Freak Accident — Anne Viviani, an Arlington resident and world class triathlete, was killed when the car she was a passenger in struck a deer on I-85 in South Carolina Monday morning. Viviani, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene. [Greenville News]

Arlington Man Killed in Fiery Crash — A 32-year-old Arlington man, Antwuan Barnes, was killed early Sunday in Martinsburg, W. Va. Police say the driver of a car in which he was passenger tried to take a turn too fast and slid into a tree, shearing the vehicle in two and causing it to burst into flames. [Martinsburg Journal, MetroNews]

Fairlington Condo Association Rolls Out Trash Cans — The Fairlington Villages condo association has rolled out dozens of large black trash bins for residents to deposit their garbage. The move follows a series of raccoon attacks in north Fairlington and is intended to discourage the nocturnal critters from taking up residence. Following the roll out, the association suspended its raccoon trapping campaign. [Fairlington Villages]

Crystal City Building Wraps, Explained — Washington Post columnist John Kelly has an explanation for why property owner JBG Smith commissioned a series of four colorful building wraps to spruce up some of its older office buildings in Crystal City. Not mentioned in the article: that the neighborhood is a top contender for Amazon’s HQ2. [Washington Post]

Thousands Ticketed for Driving Slow in Left Lane — “Thousands of people have been fined since Virginia implemented a law setting penalties for driving too slowly in the left lane of a highway… from July 1, 2017, through April 3, more than 16,000 people were cited under various portions of the law.” [NBC Washington]

Late Night Hot Pot — Chinese hot pot restaurant Mala Tang has extended its hours until 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, according to a press release.

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