Medical-marijuana-sign CC Laurie Avocado

Virginia lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that will allow families to be able to legally buy medical marijuana for treating epileptic seizures in the state in 2017.

Lengthy discussion and negotiation paved the way for passage of the bill, SB701, which allows the processing and manufacturing of Cannabidiol oil and THC-A—marijuana oils that are both low in THC, the compound that provides the high in cannabis.

“Providing this medication to Virginians is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Senator Dave Marsden, the sponsor of the legislation.“THCa and CBD oils have shown the ability to help alleviate the number and severity of seizures from intractable epilepsy and help so many families live a quality life.”

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The state last year legalized possession of the two marijuana oils for intractable epilepsy patients and their caregivers, but failed to provide any way for patients to obtain the oils without breaking federal and state laws. This legislation provides the solution by requiring the Board of Pharmacy to create regulations to safely and securely provide the oils. Once the Board of Pharmacy creates the regulations they will be brought back before the legislature next year for final approval. Processing and distribution of the oils would not begin until sometime in 2017.

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“This is a huge step for Virginia, a first in the nation concept that will provide the medications in the safest most secure fashion and shows once again that Virginia leads the way,” exclaimed Sen. Marsden.

Virginia is one of 40 states with medical marijuana laws and, according to the latest report on Medical Cannabis Access in the U.S. by the group, Americans for Safe Access, is one of the seventeen states that limits use to CBD and THCa oils for certain conditions.

Activists and legislators from across the country will be discussing these types of laws and other medical cannabis topics at ASA’s 4th Annual Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington, DC later this month.

“We are grateful to the Virginia General Assembly for allowing this first step towards helping epilepsy patients and their families to obtain a safe and reliable treatment in the Commonwealth without breaking laws,” said Beth Collins,  ASA director of communications and outreach.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk, where he is expected to sign the legislation.

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