Issue 17 | October 2022

Legal News Updates

Could Your Marijuana Charges be Pardoned?

On October 6, 2022, President Joe Biden announced that he would pardon individuals charged with simple marijuana possession at the federal level, but his decision does not affect broad groups of Americans and noncitizens. According to the White House, this relief would benefit "6,500 people with prior federal convictions" and "thousands with prior convictions under (Washington, DC) law."

Although Biden is pardoning federal charges for simple marijuana possession, his move on Thursday did not decriminalize the drug. Possession of small amounts of marijuana on federal land remains a federal crime. However, Biden announced a review of how marijuana is scheduled under federal law, which may change how the drug is regulated and help guide criminal law reform.

As he announced his executive actions, Biden stressed that marijuana should not be criminalized. "It's legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities," Biden continued. "And that's before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While White and Black and Brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and Brown people are arrested, prosecuted and convicted at disproportionate rates."

Although Biden's actions may have resulted in immediate relief for some, many more people will remain unaffected. Biden does not have the power to pardon thousands of people facing state charges for simple marijuana possession. So, the pardons are limited to federal criminal cases and do not extend to state charges. However, on the day of the pardon, Biden called on governors to grant the same pardons to those convicted of state marijuana offenses.

Biden's pardons will benefit a large number of people facing simple possession of marijuana charges, but they won't apply to every type of offense. "Conspiracy, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and other charges involving marijuana are not pardoned by the proclamation," the Justice Department says.

Additionally, the pardon does not apply to those who have been convicted of possessing more than one controlled substance in a single offense. "For example, if you were convicted of possessing marijuana and cocaine in a single offense, you do not qualify for a pardon under the terms of President Biden's proclamation," the Justice Department explained. "If you were convicted of one count of simple possession of marijuana and a second count of possession of cocaine, President Biden's proclamation applies only to the simple possession of marijuana count, not the possession of cocaine count."

In accordance with the proclamation, only offenses that occurred on or before October 6, 2022, are pardoned. No individuals are expected to be released from prison due to this pardon due to the restrictions placed on this ruling.

If you'd like to learn more about how this may affect your charges, give me a call, and I'll be happy to speak with you!
Local Events
Villa Rica's annual Thrill at the MILL and 5k Zombie Run are finally here! I love Halloween, and these events are always a blast. I'm so glad the local kids can have safe Halloween fun right here in Villa Rica.

Dress in your favorite costume for the Zombie Run 5K, and after the race, enter the costume contest at Thrill at The MILL. Win prizes and have fun all at the same time!

Here is more information about these events:

Thrill at the MILL:

What: Thrill at The MILL has become a spooky tradition in Villa Rica. Free and fun for the whole family with the Zombie Run 5K and One Mile Fun Run, trick-or-treating, costume contests for all ages, pumpkin carving contest, and more. Spend a few hours of fun at Thrill at The MILL Saturday, October 29, 2022 from 10 am until 12 noon.

When: October 29 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Where: The MILL Amphitheater, Downtown Villa Rica
106 Temple Street, Villa Rica, GA 30180

Tickets: Free

Zombie Run:

What: The Zombie Run is a 5k loop course through the historic streets and neighborhoods of Downtown Villa Rica. The Half Mile Fun Run curves around the Central Business District in Downtown Villa Rica. Volunteers and officers carefully mark and monitor the course throughout the event.

The last day to register for the Zombie Run online is Thursday, October 27, at 5 pm. Registration will also be available on the morning of the race. T-shirts are not guaranteed for those registered after October 21, 2022. Registration and packet pick-up begins at 7 am at the Villa Rica Welcome Center (106 Temple Street, Villa Rica, GA 30180).

When: October 29
One Mile Fun Run: 8:30 am
5k: 9:00 am

Where: The MILL Amphitheater, Downtown Villa Rica
106 Temple Street, Villa Rica, GA 30180

Tickets: Free

To register for the fun run and 5k, click this link.

To register as a business to give out candy to our community, click here.

Fall Recipe

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

This time of year is filled with things I love, and soup is one of them. This creamy mushroom soup is easy to make in one pot, and it is so delicious and comforting this time of year. The best part is that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it for later use.


  • 1.5 lbs baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • 6 Tablespoon butter
  • 6 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms, thyme, and marjoram and stir for about 10-15 minutes, until mushrooms have softened and reduced in volume. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir for about 2 minutes to allow the flour to cook.
  3. Stir in chicken broth and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has reduced.
  4. Reduce heat to low and stir in heavy cream. Allow mixture to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy.
  • Make the soup in a heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven. This will help to distribute the heat evenly so that the bottom doesn’t get scorched.
  • For a smoother soup, use a blender to blend the soup together.
  • Taste the soup before serving and adjust the salt and pepper to suit your tastes.
Recipe Credit:
Funny Arrest Story

Not a Great Idea...

46-year-old Marina Verbitsky of Chicago was running late for her plane on JetBlue Airlines when things went bad. Police say she swore at employees at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when they told her she'd arrived too late to board the plane Monday night. When she was told her checked luggage was already on the plane, she claimed it contained a bomb!

Authorities had to stop the aircraft, which was already on the runway preparing to take off. They evacuated the passengers and searched the luggage and plane for explosives. However, no bombs were found.

Afterward, Marina was taken to jail on one count of false reporting concerning an explosive, carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Her bond was set at $10,000 by a judge, and she was also ordered to have a mental health evaluation.

Relatives say Verbitsky was worried about her son missing school. "It was a mistake," a relative says, "She was nervous about her son needing to go to school. It was a mess, but it was definitely not meant to be."

Her husband and son, who arrived at the boarding gate with her, were not charged.

Julie's Take: It's never a good idea to make rash decisions when you're angry. She should have just tried to catch the next flight. Obviously, telling the employees her luggage contained a bomb just delayed her trip further. Kindness and patience will take you far in life! If you've made a bad decision or mistake like this, make sure you speak with a lawyer about your legal options. My door is always open!

Thank You for Reading!

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