12 On Your Side: Woman wants to keep license plate

By Diane Walker - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond woman is upset that the DMV just revoked her license plate. Sandy Hayer asked 12 On Your Side to find out why after 15 years, her plate is suddenly unfit for public viewing, all because one person didn't like it.

First, we found out, it was a state trooper who complained and told DMV. The plate references illegal drug use. That triggered a review and DMV pulled, Sandy Hayer's personalized plate.

"I was totally outraged. I've had hemp on my plate for years," said Sandy.

She's the hemp lady. Sporting a jacket and pants made from hemp, Sandy Hayer maintains her personalized plate, with her husband's initial, strictly speaks to saving the earth by legalizing hemp.

"I'm not asking you to smoke it. I'm asking you to save the planet. Let it grow. Make all the paper we can use without cutting down trees," Sandy said.

It seems the plate, by itself never offended anyone. It's when Sandy added stickers, including "Thank you for pot smoking".

"It sealed the deal with condoning illegal drug use," said DMV Spokesperson Melanie Stokes.

DMV says Sandy can express herself all she wants, but she crossed the line, so a special committee revoked her plate and mailed her new ones.

"It made me so mad I threw them in the floor and dented them," Sandy said.

Hemp comes from the same plant species as marijuana. But, smoking hemp won't get you high. Still, opponents believe legalizing hemp, would also legalize marijuana.

Which Melanie admits, she promotes and on the day the trooper complained, she gave him literature.

"Where ever I go I carry these cards to hand out. It says legalize marijuana for paper and save trees," said Sandy. "We would have more drinking water if we stop cutting down trees for paper. We could make fuel for vehicles, instead of sucking our earth dry."

DMV doesn't believe her motivation is environmental.

It can revoke personalized plates, on eight criteria, that range from profane, and sexually explicit, to condoning drug use, violence or racially disparaging messages. Sandy has requested an appeal hearing to argue why she should keep her plate.

If the decision to revoke stands, she can take it to circuit court.

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