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Virginia Senate Approves Bill to Expand Medical Marijuana Program

Medical Cannabis

SB 1557 is headed to the Governor’s desk. The bill aims to allow full-strength medical marijuana products to be available to qualifying patients. This would be the second major upgrade to the state’s limited medical marijuana program.

Senator Siobhan Dunnavant said, “Last year we passed unanimously the historic Let Doctors Decide bill that expanded patient access to our medical cannabis program. We got a lot of things right, but there are some screws that can be tightened so the law better benefits the health and well-being of all Virginians.”

Pharmaceutical processors would be permitted to provide (dispense) full-strength products, News Leader says. This would also expand the types of products available to patients. The legislation is considering “full strength” to include up to 10 mg THC in a single dose.

Virginia NORML has aided Senator Dunnavant wither efforts to improve Virginia’s medical marijuana program.

Jenn Michelle Pedini of Virginia NORML said, “Ensuring patient access and controlling costs are vital to the success of Virginia’s medical cannabis program. A positive outcome seen in states with robust programs is an average 25% reduction in opioid overdose fatalities, reduced opiate consumption, and reduced prescription drug-use. These adjustments will significantly increase the potential for similar benefits in the Commonwealth.”

Not only does this legislation vastly improve the program, it goes further to allow physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify patients for medical marijuana cards.

Pedini also said, “Virginia patients need safe access to full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis products. These common sense clarifications to the regulations will make for a smoother system, and better outcomes for patients, providers and the community at large.”

It’s unknown how long the governor will take to sign SB 1557 into law. The Virginia Senate voted unanimously to approve the legislation.