Police Continue To Crack Down on Marijuana Pop-Up Shops In Hampton Roads
Investigators say two would-be robbers were shot and killed at a marijuana pop-up shop last May.
Now, a new search warrant says that the shooting led to an investigation into pop-up shops.
In the documents, it says that police have found a “complex criminal conspiracy” that started in 2016 and led to pop-up shops in Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.
The search warrant says that some of the people in the group went to California and then sent marijuana back to Virginia by mail.
Police recently searched two homes that belonged to a man named Amadeo Classen, who is now facing charges from the state related to marijuana.
The court papers say that since April of last year, Classen had gotten 14 packages from California that weighed a total of 267 pounds.
Critics of the illegal market in Virginia have been sounding the alarm about crime linked to it. Earlier this month, News 3 talked to the president of the Virginia Cannabis Association about a drug deal involving marijuana that led to a shooting at the Oceanfront.
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“We’re in an impossible situation right now,” said Jason Blanchette from the Virginia Cannabis Association. “Cannabis is legal, and people can grow up to four plants at home and have up to an ounce, but there’s no safe way to buy or sell it.”
Since 2021, it has been legal in Virginia to have small amounts of marijuana, but lawmakers haven’t been able to agree on how to set up retail sales.
“We are facing a public safety nightmare. We tried to get some laws passed by the General Assembly, but they didn’t listen “said Blanchette.
Last week, Portsmouth police raided a pop-up shop on High Street and say they found 100 pounds of marijuana.
Police Chief Stephen Jenkins told News 3: “Unfortunately, it’s a loophole that needs to be fixed, and our legislative leaders will have to do it.”
Jenkins said that the police are trying to make sure people know that it is still illegal to sell marijuana for fun and that they have to follow the laws that are already in place. “There are people in the public who don’t know much about the law, but there are also people who take advantage of people’s ignorance and sell it illegally,” he said.