Virginia General Assembly Passes Medical Marijuana Production Bill
March 09, 2016 | Elizabeth Collins
(Richmond, VA) - Yesterday, Virginia's lawmakers passed a bill which will allow for the eventual production and distribution of low THC marijuana oils in the Commonwealth. After lengthy discussions and negotiations in both houses, SB701, Cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil; permitting of pharmaceutical processors to manufacture and provide, passed the House of Delegates unanimously on Monday. The bill returned to the Senate Tuesday with amendments and passed with a vote of 39-0. The bill now goes to the Governor's desk for his signature.
“Providing this medication to Virginians is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Senator Dave Marsden, the sponsor of the legislation.“THCa and CBD oils have shown the ability to help alleviate the number and severity of seizures from intractable epilepsy and help so many families live a quality life. This is a huge step for Virginia, a first in the nation concept that will provide the medications in the safest most secure fashion and shows once again that Virginia leads the way.”
“I am pleased to have joined Senator Marsden once again in supporting legislation on this important issue. We must advocate for our most vulnerable Virginians. Passage of SB 701 is one of the many ways this can be done,” said Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, co-sponsor of the legislation.
Last year’s passage of SB1235 and HB1445 gave intractable epilepsy patients and their caregivers an affirmative defense for possession of two marijuana oils, THCa and CBD used to treat seizures. However, the law provides no way for patients to obtain the oils without breaking federal and state laws. This legislation seeks to create a way to process and provide THCa and CBD Oils for patients with intractable epilepsy by requiring the Board of Pharmacy to create regulations to safely and securely provide the oils. Once the Board of Pharmacy creates the regulations they will be brought back before the legislature next year for final approval. Processing and distribution of the oils would not begin until sometime in 2017.
"We are grateful to the Virginia General Assembly for allowing this first step towards helping epilepsy patients and their families obtain a safe and reliable treatment in the Commonwealth without breaking laws,” said Beth Collins, ASA director of communications and outreach. “The passage of SB701 will have a dramatic impact on the lives of patients by further expanding the medical cannabis program to allow access within the state of Virginia to low-THC extracts.”
Virginia is one of 40 states with medical marijuana laws and according to ASA’s latest report on Medical Cannabis Access in the U.S., is one of the seventeen states that limits use to CBD and THCa oils for certain conditions. Activists and legislators from across the country will be discussing these types of laws and other medical cannabis topics at Americans for Safe Access’s 4th Annual Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington, DC later this month.