Stiffer marijuana penalties for black residents; Habeeb to step down; RIP Butterfly Kisses

    Our daily round-up of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

    Black Virginia residents face stiffer marijuana penalties

    They’re also more likely to be charged in the first place, making up 50 percent of all first-time arrests, reports Dave Ress at the Daily Press.

    That’s despite black residents representing just a fifth of the population and being just as statistically likely to use marijuana as whites.

    Of first-time offenders sent to jail, 65 percent were black. Ress’ review also found prosecutors were less likely to drop charges against black defendants.

    Does Habeeb’s resignation risk House for Republicans?

    Words like “chance of a power shift” are getting thrown around, but the early consensus is probably not.

    Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, did not explain his decision to resign mid-term next month after seven years other than to say he wanted to focus on family and work and give someone else a “turn at the bat,” The Washington Post reported.

    The 8th District, in Salem, Craig County and parts of Roanoke and Montgomery counties, went for Trump with 62 percent of the vote in 2016.

    More news

    • Police are upset that VCU Health will no longer draw blood from someone without consent, even if a judge has signed off on a search warrant. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
    • MS-13, gangs and deportation are front and center again in Virginia politics (remember those Ed Gillespie ads?) in the race between U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, the incumbent Republican, and her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton. – The Washington Post
    • Officers in Roanoke found a bullet hole in the window of a break room at the police station. – The Roanoke Times
    • Virginia college students are pushing for polling precincts on campus. – Daily Press
    • Downtown Lynchburg is experiencing a minor residential renaissance downtown. – The News & Advance
    • Theresa Sullivan’s last day as president of UVA is tomorrow. – The Daily Progress
    • Tysons Corner Mall turns 50 this week. Yay? – WAMU
    • UVA officials say the former Trump administration official they hired over objections from faculty will offer students insight into the presidency. – Chronicle of Higher Education
    • New legislation effective this month means women in Virginia prisons and jails no longer must pay to get tampons. – WRIC
    • One of the wild ponies that swam across the Assateague Channel this year died in a freak accident. Her name was Butterfly Kisses. – Salisbury Daily Times