In the U.S. state of Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam has signed a bill into law that builds on the affirmative defense for possession of medical cannabis oils and allows for their use in treating any medical condition.
Last month we reported two Bills seeking to improve access to cannabidiol (CBD) and THC-A (a precursor to THC that has no intoxicating effect) based medicinal oils for patients in the state were progressing – and HB 1251 continued to all the way to the Governor’s desk; which he apparently signed late last week. The other Bill, SB 726 was identical.
- enables doctors to provide a written certification for the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil or THC-A oil for treating/alleviating symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease where it is determined the patient may benefit from their use.
- boosts the maximum supply of CBD oil or THC-A oil a pharmaceutical processor may dispense from a 30-day supply to 90 days.
- reduces the minimum amount of CBD or THC per millilitre to qualify for CBD/THC-A oil.
It also provides an affirmative defense for patients with regard to potential prosecution of possessing CBD or THC-A oil.
“The affirmative defense applies to oil products only. The oil must contain at least 15% CBD or at least 15% THCA-A and may contain no more than 5% THC,” stated Virginia NORML. “The affirmative defense does not apply to flower, to other products, or to products outside the allowed cannabinoid ratios.”
Previously, CBD could only be prescribed to patients with intractable epilepsy, so the new laws are a huge improvement that could potentially benefit many patients in Virginia. It’s good news for the state’s five producers as well, who will no doubt see brisk business as a result.
It’s hoped the new laws will also put a dent in the state’s growing opioid epidemic.
“With Virginia fighting a growing opioid crisis, this is smart legislation to reduce dependence on addictive narcotics,” said HB 1251’s sponsor, Ben Cline, prior to it being signed into law. “By expanding the ability to recommend medical cannabis oil, we are giving doctors the freedom to make a decision based on the most up to date research and data, just as they do for any other medication they prescribe.”