Suffolk City Hall CannaLight Vigil

Suffolk City Hall CannaLight Vigil:
Shine a Light on Virginia’s Opioid Crisis
Cannabis Activists to Highlight an Alternative to Addictive Pain Killers While Honoring Veterans
7:00 pm, Tuesday, October 29, 2019
RachelRamone Donlan, co-founder
(339) 225-2855
Jessica Edwards, co-founder
(508) 367-0318

SUFFOLK, VA — The scourge of opioid addiction that has preyed on Virginia families will be the focus of a twilight vigil Tuesday at Suffolk City Hall in Suffolk, Virginia. The friendly and peaceful gathering will call attention to the high rate of fatal opioid overdoses in Virginia that sits above the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons, according to the latest figures compiled by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Organizers from Virginia Marijuana Justice (VAMJ) will call attention to cannabis as a safe alternative to addictive opioids in the treatment of chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep irregularities, nausea and other ailments in which over-prescribing drugs has created an epidemic facing our families, friends and neighbors in Virginia.

“The opioid crisis has touched every facet of American life, from economically challenged rural areas to affluent suburbs and into small and large cities,” said VAMJ co-founder Jessica Edwards of Danville. “As a parent, it’s important to me that we elect candidates willing to take on the opioid crisis, not those who have been complicit in supplying huge amounts of opioids to the communities they claim to represent.” 

Organizers chose Suffolk City Hall to highlight the local Virginia House of Delegates seat occupied by Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), who was linked in news reports to the opioid crisis in Southeastern Virginia.

Jones owned a small pharmacy, Bennett Creek Pharmacy in Suffolk, where he supplied 13.5 million opioids to a community of 91,000 people. That’s more opioids than Walmart and Walgreens combined. Jones shut down his pharmacy coincidentally after news of his opioid sales made the papers.

“Chris Jones is in a position of influence and he chose not to sound the alarm about the excessive amount of dangerous pain killers that were being ordered through his pharmacy that he sold to the Suffolk community,” said VAMJ co-founder RachelRamone Donlan. “Instead, the moment the bad press began he closed his doors and pretended that he played no part in the opioid crisis in his own district.”

Duke Dunn, a Vietnam Veteran in Virginia who lives out of his van, emphasized that “cannabis has been a better medicine for me than pills” in the treatment of his PTSD. “On Cannabis, I’m me, just happier and more able to deal with my PTSD symptoms,” Dunn explained. “Prescription pills suck the life out of you. Cannabis prohibition costs and wrecks lives.” 

VAMJ is committed to responsible regulated adult use and medical cannabis.  In addition to finding solutions to the opioid crisis, VAMJ fights for issues like legal access to cannabis for veterans and military families and others in federal housing, and ending wasteful and immoral government spending to incarcerate nonviolent Virginians convicted on obsolete cannabis charges. We are committed to seeing local growers, family farmers and Virginia small businesses, investors and workers from all walks of life gain access to the economic opportunities offered by legalization.


Virginia Marijuana Justice is a community group dedicated to fighting for cannabis users, growers, workers, patients and their families in the Commonwealth.