This afternoon near the Rosslyn Metro station, Bob Marley was playing and a flag featuring a joint and the words “Come and Take It” was flying.
The event was the legalization of marijuana in Virginia and a giveaway that attracted a line of some 100 people.
Those in line were waiting to receive six marijuana plant seeds — tokens to commemorate the first day of legalized cannabis possession on this side of the Potomac River. The seeds are from Virginia Marijuana Justice, an advocacy group celebrating legalization today with “The Great Commonwealth Cannabis Seed Share.”
Virginians 21 and older can now possess, consume and grow small amounts of the plant, but unless a doctor has signed off on a prescription, there’s no legal way to buy it, the Virginia Mercury reports. Lawmakers aim to begin recreational retail sales in 2024, giving the Commonwealth three years to establish a Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to regulate the market.
Outside the Rosslyn Metro station was one of four locations where volunteers with VAMJ gave out seeds. The Arlington seed share lasted from 12-2 p.m. and among the four sites, more than 20,000 seeds were distributed, said organizer Adam Eidinger.
“We are very happy on this historic day,” Eidinger said. “All four locations in Virginia had long lines and are giving away all the seeds we raised. Authorities were only concerned with large numbers of people, not the cannabis.”
The organization’s celebration started last night on the Key Bridge.
Cannabis prohibition in Virginia ends in about 15 minutes! We're on the Key Bridge to celebrate! pic.twitter.com/vcZRxEahIf
— Virginia Marijuana Justice (@VAMJ2019) July 1, 2021
Chinara and Maurice, who only gave their first name, were among the crowd standing in line this afternoon.
Maurice said he was there “to partake in this transition that’s occurring,” saying he is glad “there is more acceptance for things that are natural.”
Despite the crowd’s size, Chinara said the line moved quickly. The R&B and Neo Soul singer-songwriter said she appreciates marijuana because “it makes me feel like I’m able to interact more smoothly with people.”
VAMJ gave out the seeds to people 21 and older with a valid ID. Organizers reminded participants to be patient, let senior citizens go first in line and make friends. They also reminded people that the law only permits four plants in a home.
The giveaway finished about 45 minutes before the thunderstorms rolled in.
Although the mood this afternoon was joyous, advocates say work remains to be done.
Chelsea Higgs Wise, the leader of a parallel Virginia-based group, Marijuana Justice, said the new law has a lot of gaps and she is skeptical that Black and Brown people will actually be treated equally for possessing the plant.
Her group is advocating for next year’s legislature to “repeal, repair and [make] reparations.” It has formed a Legalize It Right coalition to discuss the new Virginian law and how to tackle these goals.
Specifically, the group wants the legislature to remove an open container law that punishes people for possessing the plant in anything but the original manufacturers’ container. The group wants to see public consumption legalized — right now Virginians can only partake at home — and zero tolerance policies on college and university campuses removed.
In addition, Marijuana Justice wants records for marijuana-related crimes expunged and reparations for people arrested and convicted for committing such crimes.
VAMJ also wrote in a blog post that the fight is not over.
“Just because you can grow your own cannabis, doesn’t mean that the war on drugs is won,” the post said. “We still have a lot of work to do to ensure not only local legalization, but legalization across the country, to benefit all interested parties. There are still friends and family members in jail for cannabis in Virginia. We need to demand their immediate release.”
(Updated at 5 p.m.) Arlington County Police are now on scene of a big traffic jam on Columbia Pike reportedly caused by a food giveaway.
Initial reports suggest that the Mega Market Express, at 5001 Columbia Pike in the Pike Plaza shopping center, is giving away hundreds of meals as part of a promotion announced on Facebook. Police were not informed of the giveaway in advance, according to scanner traffic.
A large crowd has gathered around the store and Columbia Pike is jammed with traffic in both directions. Streets approaching the Pike like S. Dinwiddie Street are also at a standstill.
“This is absolutely insane,” said ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott, after arriving on scene. “No one is practicing social distancing.”
Officers are working to spread out the crowd and get traffic moving again. As of 5 p.m., the store had closed and was beginning to hand out certificates to let people pick up their giveaway items at a later time, according to scanner traffic.
Arlington’s emergency alert system is encouraging people to avoid the area.
INCIDENT: Traffic Delays
LOCATION: Columbia Pk at S Dinwiddie St
IMPACT: Individuals are encouraged to avoid the area. Construction and an event have caused significant delays. Please avoid the area on foot or in a vehicle and maintain physical distancing pic.twitter.com/mLg7zZaouD
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) April 17, 2020
— Janet Smith (@Planet_of_Janet) April 17, 2020
— Janet Smith (@Planet_of_Janet) April 17, 2020
— Janet Smith (@Planet_of_Janet) April 17, 2020
As part of an effort to expand Arlington’s tree canopy, the Department of Parks and Recreation will be giving away 400 trees for free this fall.
Arlington Residents can apply through the Parks and Recreation website to receive a “whip”; trees in two gallon containers ranging from two to four feet in size.
There are currently nine different types of trees available for pick up. There is a limit of one tree per residential property. Multi-family properties can contact the Tree Stewards organization to acquire more than one.
There will be two distribution days to pick up your trees.
- Sat., Oct. 20, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Arlington County Nursery – 4240 S Four Mile Run Dr. 22206.
- Wed., Oct. 24, 3-6 p.m. Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden Parking Lot – 850 N Lexington St. 22205.
Photo courtesy Arlington County
Arlington County residents can register now to receive a free tree for their homes.
One tree is available per home in the county’s annual free tree distribution. Anyone who lives in a multi-family property like an apartment building, however, must contact TreeStewards.org for assistance in getting more trees.
“The trees being distributed are generally termed ‘whips’ in the nursery trade and are in two-gallon containers and ranging 2-4 feet in size,” organizers wrote. “You should carefully consider the spot you intend to plant your tree.”
The distribution will take place next month in two places:
- Saturday, October 14, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arlington County nursery (4240 S. Four Mile Run Drive)
- Wednesday, October 18, 5-8 p.m. at the Quincy Park parking lot (1021 N. Quincy Street)
Photo via Arlington County
National nonprofit For The Love Of Others and the local chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity are hosting a free lunch for those in need this Saturday at Gunston Middle School (2700 S. Lang Street).
The goal of the event is to give out 650 meals between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in an effort to help those who struggle with food insecurity. No reservations are required.
For The Love Of Others provides food drives across the country, and participates in other giving events to “empower, enrich and enhance the lives of people from all backgrounds through providing opportunities to enable them to live a purposeful life.”
Alpha Phi Alpha, the first black intercollegiate fraternity in the country, partners with organizations that are in keeping with the fraternity’s motto of “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All” — promoting brotherhood while providing service in the community.
“The fraternity stands on the motto of manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind,” said David M. Preston, a local fraternity member who is helping with the event. “We wanted to partner with an organization that has the vision and the goal of service to the community that is when we partnered with For The Love Of Others.”
After spending the past 86 years in the same location at 3507 Columbia Pike, the Arlington Presbyterian Church has gathered its share of items. This weekend, in advance of the redevelopment of its property, the church is giving many of those items away.
“We can’t take it all with us, so we invite you to come by and see if there is anything you can use or re-purpose,” the church said in an email. “All items are FREE and must be removed that day. We will have filing cabinets, books, desks, chairs, other furniture, kitchen items, and lots more!”
The giveaway event will take place on Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
The congregation is relocating due to the church building being torn down and redeveloped for affordable housing.
The church has temporarily moved to a new worship location, at the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road) in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. Services are taking place Sundays at 11 a.m.
Yorktown Girls’ Soccer Advances to Final — The Yorktown High School Girls’ soccer team defeated No. 1 Stone Bridge on Wednesday to advance to the regional finals. Yorktown will face Chantilly in the finals today at 4:00 p.m. Next week, Yorktown will play in the state tournament. [Yorktown Sports, Washington Post]
Metro Work This Weekend — Metro riders in Arlington should expect some delays this weekend due to ongoing “rebuilding” work. Trains on the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines will operate every 22 minutes throughout the weekend. [WMATA]
Hundreds Served Free Food By Toscana — Courthouse restaurant Toscana Grill served “hundreds” of free meals Wednesday, many to ARLnow.com readers. The restaurant was giving away food for free before closing for emergency renovations. [Bartender Blog]
Flickr pool photo by Keith Hall
Circuit Court Judge to Retire — Arlington Circuit Court Judge Joanne F. Alper, the first woman appointed to the Arlington Circuit Court, has announced her retirement. Alper plans to retire on May 31, 2012, after serving on the circuit court since 1998. “Judge Alper developed a reputation as a tough, fair, hard-working Trial Judge,” the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office said in a press release. “She enjoys complex litigation, challenging legal issues, and is known as a champion for Victim’s Rights.”
Adios, Artisphere Salsa Tuesdays? — Tonight may mark the end of Salsa Tuesdays at Artisphere, one of the few regularly-scheduled features of the financially-challenged arts facility in Rosslyn. Artisphere’s new business plan calls for the facility to be closed to the public on Tuesdays. Salsa dancing at Artisphere may return, however, on different days. [Washington City Paper]
BikeArlington Distributes 1,000+ Lights — The county’s BikeArlington initiative has distributed more than 1,000 sets of free bike lights over the course of three giveaway events. The giveaways were held on trails in Rosslyn, on Columbia Pike, and at the intersection of the W&OD and Custis trails. [CommuterPage Blog]
Yorktown Grad Wins Writing Contest — Bryce Wilson Stuckie, a member of Yorktown High School’s Class of 2004 and a recent Virginia Tech grad, has been named one of the two winners of The Nation’s sixth annual Student Writing Contest. Stuckie wrote a heart-wrenching and thought-provoking 800-word essay about the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting massacre.
About a year and a half ago, the local and national news media went gaga for a delightfully quirky new service: fish pedicures. It was offered by Yvonne’s, a hair salon and day spa in Alexandria. Fish pedicure stories appeared on numerous network and cable news shows, as reporters and anchors debated the pedicure’s sanitary merits.
Well, now Crystal City residents don’t have to drive down to Alexandria to have their toes nipped at by tiny flesh-eating fish. Yvonne’s is opening up a new location in the Market Square at Potomac Yard development (3650 S. Glebe Road), near the Harris Teeter.
For their grand opening celebration tomorrow (Saturday), Yvonne’s is giving away $50 gift cards to the first 100 customers. The gift cards are going fast but, if you don’t make it in time, a small block of gift cards is being set aside for ARLnow.com readers. Just be sure to say that you heard about the promotion here.