Virginia Senate Embraces Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program

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A bill unanimously passed by the Virginia Senate will likely expand the state’s medical marijuana program by allowing physicians to prescribe THC-A or CBD oil for qualified patients.

On Monday, SB 726 was given the proverbial green light by Virginia’s Joint Commission on Health Care and will now be headed to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam (D), where it is anticipated he will sign the bill into law.

The governor, a physician by trade, was an early and vocal advocate of making the state’s medical marijuana program more sympathetic and inclusive.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-12th District), is more commonly referred to as “Let Doctors Decide.”

A licensed OB/GYN, Sen. Dunnavant regards medical marijuana as a topic best addressed by other doctors – and not politicians. Dunnavant concluded physicians should be “the decision-makers” with regards to medical marijuana. A doctor first and a politician second, Dunnavant views the issue as a matter of physiology and science over politics and procrastination, according to a published report by News Leader.

“We, physicians, are the ones that follow the literature and know which treatments are best for different conditions. The literature on medical cannabis is going to be evolving rapidly now, and because of this, it is not a decision that should be in the hands of the legislature. Instead, it should be with physicians.”

Indeed; in Virginia, the use of medical marijuana is currently only protected by an affirmative defense from prosecution for a small pool of “seriously ill” patients. With the passage of both SB 726 and HB 1251, Virginians suffering from a host of debilitating ailments have moved one step closer to receiving access to medicinal cannabis.

Cover image courtesy of Thomas Hawk

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Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.

2 Comments

  1. David R. Lindsay on

    Thanks for this article. It was well written and long overdue for Virginians. I just wanted to inform whomever it may concern, of the incorrect page being hyperlinked to “THC-A” in the beginning of this article. When you click on it, it takes you to a page describing what THC is, instead of THC-A. While this may seem inconsequential, for those who may be trying to learn more about this new upcoming law, it may be misunderstood by the reader that THC-A causes psychoactive effects, which it doesn’t.

    This step is huge for Virginians who have been patiently waiting for trickle down weed laws to slowly creep into the southern states. Having that link going to the THC page may cause confusion and misinformation to spread amongst those who may be less informed about cannabis. Thanks again for this information and your time.

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