While full decriminalization isn’t likely in Virginia, the state is likely to relax its rules on medical marijuana. Already, over one dozen marijuana-related pieces of legislation have been introduced in this session.
Two bills to decriminalize marijuana possession failed in the Senate Committee last week, according to Henrico Citizen. But state lawmakers are more receptive to amending medical marijuana rules. Many lawmakers do want to decrease penalties for simple marijuana position as well, but it appears that lawmakers in Virginia are split.
Work is taking place to expand use of CBD and THC-A oils for an expanded list of medical conditions. Currently, only those with intractable epilepsy are permitted to use these oils.
Senator Vogel supports medical marijuana program expansion. She said, “Not only does it lacks side effects but it also has really healing properties. There has been some quibbling over the breadth of the list. But if you have someone in your family with a debilitating genetic disorder or is dying a painful death from one of these diseases, which one are you going to pick?”
Three bills are waiting on the General Assembly’s decision. These bills are all in an effort to expand the medical marijuana program in Virginia. One bill, HB 2135, is awaiting a hearing by the House Courts of Justice Committee.
However, it isn’t all bad news in Virginia. Last week, SB 1091 did receive support from the Senate as it passed this bill. License suspension is no longer automatic when someone is charged with marijuana possession. Juveniles, however, would still face a six-month license suspension. Although this is a small step forward, any progress at all is better than more steps backwards.
HB 2051 is also making headway as it is in the hands of the House Courts of Justice Committee in hopes of moving forward.