Portsmouth judges distance themselves from plan to dismiss marijuana cases; Roanoke approves needle exchange; state sees 50 percent jump in farms run by women and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Judges in Portsmouth publicly distanced themselves from city prosecutors’ plan to dismiss most misdemeanor marijuana cases, though, unlike in Norfolk, they initially agreed to it and have been approving the dismissals for months. “At no time has any judge in Portsmouth embraced or advocated for the decriminalization of marijuana,” reads a statement endorsed by the chief judges of the city’s three courts. – The Virginian-Pilot

• Rep. Don Beyer, D-8th District, is the first congressman from Virginia to call for President Trump’s impeachment. “Endorsing such a course is not easy, and I do not do so lightly, but I believe that the President has left Congress no other option but to pursue it. When I came to Congress I swore an oath ‘to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” Beyer said. – The Washington Post

• Richmond Public Schools inflated its graduation rate – already the lowest in the state – by rubber-stamping student work and administering alternative tests. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Roanoke City Council unanimously voted to approve plans for a needle exchange program. – The Roanoke Times

• A brief forum featuring Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, and primary challenger Joe Morrissey briefly became heated, with Dance accusing her opponent of “Lies! Lies! Lies!” – The Progress-Index

• Virginia has seen a nearly 50-percent jump in the number of farms run by women. – WVTF

• The Williamsburg-area Tourism Council, which is funded by public money, is asking the attorney general for a ruling on whether it has to hold open meetings and respond to FOIA requests. – The Virginia Gazette

• Lynchburg school board is working on a plan to pay all its employees a living wage, which they calculate as a little over $11 an hour. – The News & Advance

• A jury found a Somali ex-colonel who has been living and working in Northern Virginia for decades, most recently as an Uber driver, guilty of torturing a teenager in 1987. – The Washington Post

• A 900-pound man too heavy to appear inside the federal courthouse in Richmond on cocaine distribution charges pleaded guilty from an ambulance backed up to the building’s loading dock. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

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