FEB 28, 2018 7:30 AM PST

Virginia General Assembly Unanimously Passes Expanded Medical Cannabis Oil Bill

WRITTEN BY: Mauri Brueggeman

Virginia is poised to break boundaries with their new cannabidiol (CBD) and THC-A oil policy.  The identical bills, HB 1251 for the House and SB 726 for the Senate, expand the currently very strict cannabis oil policy which allows CBD and THC-A oils to be in one’s possession for intractable epilepsy only.  The new expansion bills, will permit the use or possession of non-psychotropic marijuana components (ex. CBD or THC-A oil) to treat any diagnosed disorder or disease under the direction of a doctor.  The bills put the onus for determining applicability and therapeutic value on the shoulders of medical providers who, in their expert medical opinion, can recommend a cannabis component for their patients’ particular needs.  HB 1251ER was unanimously passed by the House and Senate on February 26, 2018.  

The prior bill passed in 2015 (SB 1235) was very narrow and only allowed for a medical practicitioner to recommend cannabis oil for individuals diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, or those caring for epileptic children.  The House Courts and Justice Committee had a number of bills in 2017 presenting cases for cannabis oil use for additional medical conditions including cancer and Crohn’s Disease (HB 137 and HB 1637) and decided they needed more information.  The House Courts of Justice Committee wrote that they did not feel qualified to determine the medical value and scientific justification for use of CBD or THC-A oils as treatments for these additional diseases; the committee specifically requested that the Virginia Joint Commission on Health Care study if CBD and THC-A oil have psychoactive or side effects and if CBD oil is therapeutically beneficial as outlined in the bills presented to them.  The results of the study determined that physicians are best suited to make decisions about which patients would benefit from medicinal marijuana and .

As more states consider laws and changes in medical cannabis policy, the more families can have access to safe, regulated medical cannabis products and remain near their support networks rather than needing to move away for treatment options that would include medical cannabis or cannabis compounds.  On February 27, 2018, Oklahoma’s Senate committee passed a bill (SB 1120) aiming to regulate medical marijuana and put it to voters in June 2018.  Tennessee’s General Assembly is working on a bill (HB 1749) to legalize medical marijuana as of late February 2018.  The State Senate in Arizona passed a bill (SB 1420) February 26, 2018 to require testing of medical marijuana for contaminants which provides patients with safer and more trusted cannabis products.

Sources: Letter request from House Courts of Justice CommitteeHB 1251SB 726SB1120HB 1749SB 1420, Cannabis Business Times

About the Author
  • Mauri S. Brueggeman is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and Educator with a background in Cytogenetics and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the clinical laboratory, taught at the University of Minnesota, and been in post secondary healthcare education administration. She is passionate about advances and leadership in science, medicine, and education.
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