Valley delegate introduces bill expanding the uses of medical cannabis oil

January 30, 2018 | Geoffrey Marshall

By Marina Barnett for WHSV3

Beth Collins, who is a Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at Americans for Safe Access, said cannabis oil was the last option for her daughter, who suffers from epilepsy. She wants this bill to help other patients who are struggling with symptoms to get the help they need as well. The new bill lets doctors make that decision, instead of lawmakers.

"We just don't think that's a good approach for anybody, or fair, so we wanted to let doctors decide and Senator Dunnavant agreed to submit the bill," said Collins.

 

 

RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — A bill proposed by a local delegate to let doctors prescribe a marijuana derivative for treatment of more medical conditions is receiving full support in the General Assembly so far.

Valley delegate Ben Cline brought bill HB 1251 to the House of Delegates in Richmond, which would allow doctors to prescribe non-hallucinogenic THC-A and cannabidiol (CBD) oil for any diagnosed condition or disease the doctor believes it could help.

It was approved by Subcommittee #1 and by the Committee for Courts of Justice unanimously.

Cannabidiol oil is derived from a chemical in the marijuana plant that does not cause a high but can be used as a treatment for the symptoms of a variety of diseases. West Virginia passed a bill in 2017 letting doctors prescribe cannabis for a wide variety of conditions, including seizures, cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and AIDS, but Virginia's legislation has been more restrictive, just allowing the oil to be produced in the Commonwealth last year.

This bill means doctors would look at patients' symptoms, and be able to decide if they are candidates for cannabidiol oil, no matter what their condition may be. Right now, only patients with intractable epilepsy are allowed to be prescribed cannabis oil to treat their condition.

Parents and family members of children with epilepsy who benefit from this oil lobbied in Richmond on Monday to express the need for the bill.

Beth Collins, who is a Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at Americans for Safe Access, said cannabis oil was the last option for her daughter, who suffers from epilepsy. She wants this bill to help other patients who are struggling with symptoms to get the help they need as well. The new bill lets doctors make that decision, instead of lawmakers.

"We just don't think that's a good approach for anybody, or fair, so we wanted to let doctors decide and Senator Dunnavant agreed to submit the bill," said Collins.

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant is the sponsor of the Senate version of the same bill proposed by Cline. It has passed two subcommittees within the Senate and faces another committee vote before heading to the floor.

Collins said she's overwhelmed with the support the bill is receiving, and is hopeful it will pass in the Senate. It will go to a full vote on Monday.

Collins has been one of the strongest supporters of CBD throughout the fight for medical marijuana in Virginia. You can learn more about her family's struggle here.



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