Virginia allows the use of medical cannabis oil for any condition

The bill, known as Let Doctors Decide, went into effect immediately after being signed on March 9.

Mar 19, 2018
Virginia Now Allows Medical Cannabis Oil For Any Condition

A Swiss Startup Is Pumping Out Legal Hashish
A sample of water-soluble full spectrum cannabidiol (CBD) oil is dropped into water inside the laboratory facility at KannaSwiss GmbH in Koelliken, Switzerland, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. KannaSwiss, a company founded in 2014, is already producing marijuana that meets Switzerlands legal standard containing no more than 1% Tetrahydrocannabinolknown as THC, the psychoactive chemical that gets you high. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Virginia is no longer one of the most restrictive medical cannabis states. A bill which makes any condition a qualifying condition for medical cannabis oils became law on March 9.

The bill, known as Let Doctors Decide, went into effect as soon as Governor Ralph Northam signed it thanks to an emergency clause he recommended. The measure—titled HB 1251 in the House of Delegates and SB 726 in the Senate—passed unanimously in both houses of the legislature.

The new regulations allow patients with any diagnosed illness to receive a recommendation from their doctor for the use of cannabidiol and THC-A oils, both of which are non-psychoactive. THC levels in these medicines cannot exceed 5 percent. Under a previous bill, passed in 2017, only those with treatment-resistant epilepsy were allowed to use cannabis oils as a treatment.

While the law’s passage is a major step forward for patients, it’s important to note that it doesn’t actually make the recommended cannabinoids legal. Instead, it protects registered patients from prosecution, provided they have the required paperwork to present to law enforcement. Doctors will not prescribe cannabis oils but “recommend” them, since only medicines approved by the FDA can be prescribed.

GettyImages 484534931 The 5 best products for outdoor smoking sessions
Jennifer Collins, age 14, and her mother Beth moved to Colorado Springs, CO in December 2013 to see if medical marijuana treatments not available in Virginia would relieve her epileptic seizures. Her father and older sister stayed behind in Northern Virginia. (Photo by Joanna B. Pinneo/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The oils recommended will be produced and distributed within the state exclusively by five licensed manufacturers known as “pharmaceutical processors.”

Doctors must undergo an educational program specific to cannabinoids in order to be able to recommend them, while patients will have to register to take part in the program. An annual fee of $50 will apply to both.

According to the News Leader, Virginia activists played a large role in the passage of the bill, with Nikki Narduzzi, director of Cannabis Commonwealth, and Virginia NORML lobbying lawmakers together since 2015.

A copy of the patient certification for use (to be signed by a doctor) can be found here.

Mar 19, 2018