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Virginia Considers Decriminalization and Cannabis Oil Legalization

January 23, 2015

The Virginia General Assembly will be considering several upcoming bills regarding the use of cannabis. State Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) has introduced a bill that would reduce the penalty for the possession of small amounts of cannabis from a criminal charge to a civil fine of up to $100. The current penalty in Virginia for having a small amount of cannabis is a criminal arrest, a possible six month driver’s license suspension, and admitting that you have a criminal history when applying for jobs.

There are also three other bills on the docket regarding the use of cannabis oil for families with seriously ill children suffering from seizure disorders. Parents and families representing Virginia Parents for Medical Marijuana have been lobbying for the cause and have enlisted legislators to file bills on their behalf.

Senator David Marsden (D-Fairfax) is one of those legislators. He wrote and submitted the bill to specifically legalize both CBD and THC-A oil, two extracted forms of cannabis that have the most profound effect on epileptic seizures.

Marsden’s bill requires a licensed physician to make a valid medical recommendation for patients. In a strange turn of events, medical cannabis has actually been legal in Virginia since 1979. However, the law requires a “valid prescription,” which, as we all know, is a paradox, as doctors cannot legally prescribe cannabis while it is federally restricted.

This alteration of language is causing a ruckus among the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s attorneys, who oppose legislation that allows “recommendations” (rather than “prescriptions”), as the term is not legally defined or regulated.

A valid point, but until the federal government makes moves to reschedule cannabis, a “recommendation” will have to do.

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