Virginia moves closer to legalizing a form of medical marijuana

February 04, 2018 | Michael Quander

“I’m not giving up until everybody has what they need,” - Beth Collins

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would legalize medical cannabidiol oil on Friday.

“It feels great. I was really truly not expecting unanimous,” Beth Collins said.

Collins was surprised to see 98 yes’s and zero no’s for HB 1251.

The legislation would allow doctors in Virginia to prescribe a form of medical marijuana for people living with any condition or disease.

The oil contains extracts from marijuana that can help with pain and even help fight some cancer cells.

It has been a long, four-year journey for Collins and her family.

Her daughter, Jennifer, is living with epilepsy and suffered severe seizures.

She tried all types of medication that either did not work or caused major side effects.

“Rages, depression, suicidal thoughts,” Collins explained.

Things got so bad that Collins decided to split up their family and moved to Colorado where the cannabis oil Jennifer needed was legal.

“We moved back and said, you know let’s change the law,” Collins told WUSA9. “Let’s stay in Virginia. Let her finish high school in Virginia.”

Jennifer is now 18-years-old and a high school senior.

The family spent the last four years lobbying and educating legislators in Richmond.

They were successful in getting a law passed that legalized the oil for epilepsy patients previously, but there was no place to get the medicine in the state.

Last year, lawmakers were successful in securing future distribution and growing facilities in the state.

The state will be looking for proposals for five distribution and growing facilities.

If passed, the law would not only cover epilepsy patients, but it would help anyone who doctors believe needs the cannabidiol.

“I’m not giving up until everybody has what they need,” Collins said.

If the bill is passed in the Senate, both doctors and patients would have to register with the state in order to have access to the oil.



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