What do ‘drug-free zone’ signs mean these days?

Posted at 11:20 AM, Jul 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-25 13:02:53-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - One home in Richmond's Barton Heights neighborhood has become the center of attention. This week police arrested the husband of a Richmond school board member accused of growing marijuana at their home.

Demetrius Muhammed, 42, of the 2100 block of North Avenue, was charged with one felony count of manufacturing marijuana. Demetrius Muhammed is school board member Shonda Harris-Muhammed’s husband.

Right across from the Muhammed home hangs a sign warning the public that this is a Drug-Free Zone. We wanted to know if the sign meant drug crimes in that neighborhood meant stricter penalties for people who break drug laws.

According to Richmond Police, they do not. A police spokesman said the signs were once used as a tool to catch repeat offenders from selling drugs in the neighborhood. But the signs were later outlawed by the Supreme Court after the signs were found unconstitutional and ineffective in the war on drugs.

Muhammed's home is also located within 1,000 feet of a school zone. Drug crimes committed near schools carry with them separate felony charges which could mean more prison time following a conviction.