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medical cannabis

  • by Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director July 1, 2019

    Three new laws intended to expand patient access to and the therapeutic value of Virginia’s medical cannabis program take effect July 1, 2019.

    “Patient access is critical to the success of Virginia’s medical cannabis program,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML’s development director and executive director of Virginia NORML. “These bills help ensure that all patients are able to obtain and use the necessary therapeutic doses of their cannabis medicines regardless of location or physical ability.”

     

    Virginia Senator Siobhan Dunnavant

    Virginia Senator Siobhan Dunnavant

    PRODUCTS AND PRACTITIONERS

    Virginia medical cannabis patients can now look forward to a greater range of products available in full therapeutic strengths thanks to Senator Dunnavant’s SB1557. Previously, Virginia’s five licensed medical cannabis providers, called pharmaceutical processors, would have been limited to dispensing only oils when they open their doors later this year. Now, patients can expect to see products typical of compounding pharmacies, like capsules, topicals, lozenges, lollipops, and suppositories, with an allowance of up to 10 milligrams of THC each.

    “The historic passage of my Let Doctors Decide bill in 2018 allows practitioners to recommend medical cannabis for their patients as they see fit,” said Senator Dunnavant, a medical doctor from Henrico. “This year, my focus was on program improvements to further expand both access and therapeutic value to benefit the health and well-being of all Virginians.”

    SB1557 also allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to register with the Board of Pharmacy to issue the necessary written certifications for medical cannabis to patients.

     

    Virginia Senator Dave Marsden and Virginia NORML Board Member Tamara Netzel

    Virginia Senator Dave Marsden and Virginia NORML Board Member Tamara Netzel

    REGISTERED AGENTS

    Senator Marsden’s SB1719 adds “registered agents” for those patients physically unable to pick up or receive delivery of their medical cannabis, like those in hospice, assisted living facilities, and those who rely on home healthcare providers. SB1719 ensures that patients will have greater access to the medicines they need, a key element of continuity needed for the success of any health system.

    It is patients like Tamara Lyn Netzel, a teacher from Alexandria who suffers from multiple sclerosis, who stand to benefit from this legislation.

    “Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease with severe symptoms that come and go, so I’ve accepted at some point I may not be able to drive a car safely or leave my home,” said Netzel. “It is comforting to know I will still be able to send my husband to get the medicine I need.”

    “We continue to tweak the law regarding cannabis oils. This year, we created the ability for registered agents to receive the medicine in the name of the patient as many people are disabled and unable to come to the door to receive a delivery. We will continue to make use of these oils more user-friendly now that members of the General Assembly are confident in the safety of these products,” said Senator Marsden, of Fairfax County.

    Virginia Delegate Chris Hurst speaks to HB1720

    Virginia Delegate Chris Hurst speaks to HB1720

    SCHOOL-USE

    Companion bills by Delegate Chris Hurst, HB1720, and Senator Glen Sturtevant, SB1632, aren’t just progressive for Virginia, they’re progressive for the nation. Today, Virginia becomes the fourth state to allow school healthcare providers to administer medical cannabis to registered student patients just as they would any other medication.

    “Virginia is moving in the right direction to ensure patients and doctors can choose treatments that are right for them. I’m proud that HB1720 will allow students on campus to legally and safely access their medication” said Delegate Hurst of District 12.

    Virginia NORML has worked diligently alongside these legislators in their continued efforts to advance patient-focused medical cannabis policies.

    “These common sense clarifications to the regulations will make for a smoother system, and better outcomes for patients, providers, and the community at large,” Pedini said of their success in the 2019 General Assembly.

     

    For more information on Virginia’s medical cannabis program visit Virginia Medical Cannabis FAQs.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 13, 2019

    Marijuana CBD OilQualified patients now have limited access to medical cannabis products, after the state’s first licensed dispensaries began making sales this week. Voters initially approved medical cannabis access by passing a statewide initiative in November 2016.

    Under the law, qualified patients may obtain both herbal preparations of cannabis and infused cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries. Products must be derived from plants harvested by one of five state-licensed cultivators. To date, only one cultivator is operational. Two additional cultivators are expecting to harvest their initial crops this summer.

    Nearly 12,000 patients are licensed in the state to participate in the medical cannabis access program.

    Arkansas is one of 33 states that permits medical cannabis access.

  • by Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director February 14, 2019
    Virginia SB1719 passes the House of Delegates

    Virginia SB1719 passes the House of Delegates

    Originally posted on the Virginia NORML Blog

    Richmond, Va — Virginia Senator David Marsden’s SB1719 has passed unanimously through both the House of Delegates and the Senate, and is headed to the governor’s desk for signature.

    SB1719 allows “registered agents” for those patients physically unable to pick up or receive delivery of their medical cannabis, like those in hospice, assisted living facilities, and those who rely on home healthcare providers.

    “This law will ensure that patients who may be physically incapable of picking up these life-changing medicines on their own will have access to them from throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Marsden, of Fairfax County.

    Virginia NORML members with Senator Dave Marsden

    Virginia NORML members meet with Senator Dave Marsden

    It is patients like Tamara Lyn Netzel, a teacher from Alexandria who suffers from multiple sclerosis, who stand to benefit from this legislation.

    “Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease with severe symptoms that come and go, so I’ve accepted at some point I may not be able to drive a car safely or leave my home,” said Netzel. “It is comforting to know I will still be able to send my husband to get the medicine I need.”

    SB1719, which passed unanimously through both the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate, will also allow Virginia’s licensed pharmaceutical processors to transfer products between the five state-authorized facilities, ensuring that patients have access to a wider range of products. It will also prevent the limited availability of products that could result should a provider experience crop failure.

    “Allowing the exchange of various products between licensed processors will create better product selections for patients, depending on their need, regardless of their location in Virginia,” said Senator Marsden. “I am proud to be part of this effort.”

    SB1719 ensures that patients will greater access to the medicines they need, a key element of continuity needed for the success of any health system.

    “Patient access is critical to the success of Virginia’s medical cannabis program,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML. “These bills help ensure that all patients are able to obtain and use the necessary therapeutic doses of their cannabis medicines regardless of location or physical ability.”

    Other medical cannabis-related bills are still making their way through the legislature. Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s SB1557 expands Virginia’s medical cannabis program, adding nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and allowing a wide range of full therapeutic-strength formulations to be dispensed.

    Delegate Chris L. Hurst’s HB1720 and Senator Glen Sturtevant’s SB1632 would authorize school nurses to administer and registered student patients to use Virginia-approved medical cannabis products at school.

    “We’ve received emails and calls from concerned parents throughout the Commonwealth who are worried their children could be expelled for using their doctor-recommended medical cannabis oil at school,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML. “Delegate Hurst’s and Senator Sturtevant’s bills would provide a much-needed solution for these families.”

    Track this and all marijuana-related legislation on Virginia NORML’s 2019 legislation monitoring page.

  • by Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director December 20, 2018

    Del. Chris HurstVirginia State Delegate Chris L. Hurst (D-12) has filed HB 1720 to allow students registered with Virginia’s medical cannabis program to use their medicine at school and school-sponsored activities.

    If passed, the bill would prohibit a school board from suspending or expelling from school attendance a student who possesses or uses Virginia’s allowed medical cannabis oils on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity if they are a registered patient and maintain an unexpired written certification.

    “We’ve received emails and calls from concerned parents throughout the Commonwealth who are worried their children could be expelled for using their doctor-recommended medical cannabis oil at school,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML. “Delegate Hurst’s bill would provide a much-needed solution for these families.”

    The bill does not provide explicit guidance as to how the medicine would be administered on school property.

    Take Action: Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of this bill.

    Track this and all marijuana-related legislation on Virginia NORML’s 2019 legislation monitoring page.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 25, 2018

    By a margin of nearly 2 to 1, Oklahoma voters support the passage of State Question 788 — a voter-initiated measure to permit patients access to marijuana for therapeutic purposes. Oklahomans will decide on the measure in a special election on Tuesday, June 26.

    According to polling data compiled by SoonerPoll.com and released today, 58 percent of likely voters endorse the measure, while 30 percent oppose it. Public support for the patient-centric initiative — which empowers physicians to use their discretion when determining cannabis therapy — has largely held steady, even in the face of growing, organized opposition from members of law enforcement and certain business leaders.

    Under the plan, licensed medical marijuana patients may cultivate up to six mature plants, and obtain personal use quantities of marijuana flower, edibles, or infused concentrates from regulated dispensaries. NORML formally endorsed the measure in January.

    Initiative proponents gathered sufficient signatures to place the issue before voters in 2016. However, the vote was postponed because when the state attorney general attempted to reword the initiative’s ballot title in a misleading manner. Initiative proponents sued to restore the title’s original wording. This year, proponents fought back legislation which sought to preemptively amend the initiative in a manner that would have curtailed the rights of both patients and their physicians.

    Voters in three other states — Michigan, Missouri, and Utah — are anticipated to decide on Election Day on statewide marijuana reform initiatives. Recent polling from those states finds majority public support for all three measures.

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