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McDonnell signs bill to strengthen penalties for repeat drug dealers

Gov. Bob McDonnell ceremonially signed nine pieces of legislation today to strengthen penalties for repeat drug dealers and to strengthen other drug laws.

The governor was joined by members of the General Assembly, public safety officials, local elected officials and public safety advocates. Among the legislation signed today are measures to increase the mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug dealers, criminalize the illegal distribution of new synthetic cannabinoids and hallucinogenic bath salts, strengthen procedures to combat the use of methamphetamine and establish a Substance Abuse Recovery Grant Program.

“One of the fundamental obligations of government is to ensure the safety of its citizens. Illegal drugs continue to infect our communities,” McDonnell said. “Each year thousands of Virginians suffer from the effects of illegal drugs and addiction. Drug dealers continue to break the laws and peddle their illegal products and poisons.  The harmful consequences of drugs extend beyond the individuals who use and distribute them to the detriment of our communities.  The legislation signed today continues Virginia’s commitment to combating the spread of illegal drugs in the Commonwealth and preserving the safety of our schools and neighborhoods.”

Hanover County Sherriff David Hines said, “This legislation, which went into effect at the start of the month, provides law enforcement personnel in Virginia with additional tools to combat illegal drug distribution and addiction. The bills signed today will ultimately make our communities safer, and I thank the governor and members of the General Assembly for their work on this legislative session.”

Del. Scott Garrett, patron of House Bill 508 to criminalize possession and distribution of new synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts, said, “Synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts have very recently emerged as extremely dangerous drugs that are all too accessible. House Bill 508 bolsters legislation passed last year by adding newly identified chemical combinations and a more generic chemical description to allow law enforcement officials to better combat the distribution of these drugs.”

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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