RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) — Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill into law that would allow doctors greater power to prescribe cannabis oil to patients in need.
HB 1251, sponsored by Delegate Ben Cline from Lexington, would give Virginia doctors the option to prescribe cannabis oil to patients for “any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.”
Gov. Northam, who is a pediatrician, previously offered his support for expanding the use of legal marijuana.
In 2017, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation for patients with severe forms of epilepsy to use cannabis oil to alleviate symptoms.
According to Virginia Norml, the change of law doesn’t legalize possession, but it provides an affirmative defense. A signed affirmative defense certificate must be submitted as a patient’s or caregiver’s defense in Virginia court of law 10 days prior to trial if charged for possession.
With this bill, the supply of CBD oil or THC-A oil can be dispensed by a pharmaceutical processor from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Legislation is also being passed with this bill to reduce the amount of cannabidiol or tetrahydrocannabinol acid per milliliter for a dilution of the Cannabis plant to fall under the definition of CBD oil or THC-A oil, respectively.
The bill also states at the end of the piece of legislation, “that an emergency exists and this act is in force from its passage.”