New Bill Could Make Medical Marijuana a Reality in Virginia

A Virginia bill filed this week would significantly expand the state’s inoperative medical marijuana laws by allowing the plant to be recommended for a wide range of conditions and authorizing pharmacists and doctors to dispense it to patients.

Presently, only cancer or glaucoma patients receiving the prescription of a physician are eligible for medical marijuana. And it’s illegal in Virginia for doctors or pharmacists to dispense marijuana to their patients. The result of this are patients who can obtain prescriptions but still have no safe access to the plant.

House Bill 1605 (HB1605) by Delegate Ken Plum (D-Reston) would change this. The bill would remove the state prohibition on people possessing marijuana “obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid recommendation of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice.”

There are no limitations in the bill on what conditions such practitioner recommendations could be given for.

HB1065 also begins to address the problem of access by authorizing medical doctors and pharmacists to “dispense or distribute” marijuana to a person in accordance with the practitioner recommendations authorized in the bill.

The legislation isn’t the only marijuana reform bill that is being considered by the Virginia state legislature this year. SB686 would effectively decriminalize marijuana for recreational use by making possession of a small amount punishable by a civil penalty rather than jail time. Between HB1605 and SB686, Virginia stands a good chance of altering their drug laws in a way that gets them further away from federal control in 2015.

TAKE ACTION

In Virginia: Contact your state representative, and urge them to co-sponsor HB1605 to broaden the state's medical marijuana law. Contact your state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor SB686 to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.

All Other States, you can still work to fight cannabis prohibition in your state. Call your state legislators and urge them to introduce a bill that fights cannabis prohibition such as our P.E.A.C.E. Act. You can find their contact information HERE.