Starting Friday, medical cannabis patients in the US state of Virginia will have less red tape to contend with.
Under Virginia’s medical marijuana program, currently patients present a Written Certification from a doctor, Board Registration and government-issued ID at a dispensary to obtain medical cannabis products. This has been cumbersome and for new patients it can mean a wait of up to 60 days from application to the state’s Board of Pharmacy before getting the all-clear.
This changes from July 1, 2022. Patients, parents and legal guardians will no longer be required to register with the Board. However, they will still need to present a Written Certification for the Use of Medical Cannabis from a Registered Practitioner at dispensaries, along with a government-issued ID.
This change will also save patients money. The initial registration fee with the Board for a patient was $50 and the annual renewal fee also $50. For parents and guardians, it was $25 annually.
Virginia’s program is quite flexible in terms of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. It can be used as treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by a registered practitioner to benefit from its use. There are also a wide range of products available; including capsules, sprays, tinctures, oils, creams, gels, lozenges, patches, and vaping products.
Cannabis flower – referred to as “botanical” cannabis – has also been available since July 2021. Supply of botanical cannabis is limited to four ounces for each 30-day period and is factored into the total 90-day supply of medical cannabis products that may be obtained by a patient.
As well as dispensaries, patients in Virginia can access medicinal cannabis by growing their own – up to four plants per household is permitted by those 21 or older.
While it will be more challenging to judge numbers in the future, as at May 23, 2022 there were 50,935 registered patients in the state according to the Board of Pharmacy; around half a percent of the state’s population.
Further information on Virginia’s medical cannabis program can be found here.