2017 Legislative Session

There are 3 bills dealing with marijuana up for consideration during the upcoming General Assembly session:

SB 841 Marijuana; possession or distribution for medical purposes, affirmative defense for treatment: This one needs a bit of explaining. An ‘affirmative defense’ is defined as “a fact or set of facts other than those alleged by the plaintiff or prosecutor which, if proven by the defendant, defeats or mitigates the legal consequences of the defendant’s otherwise unlawful conduct.” This bill, from Arlington/Fairfax State Senator Barbara Favola (D), would grant an affirmative defense against possession charges for people who have been prescribed cannabidol oil or THC-A oil for treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Tourette syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, or complex regional pain syndrome.

SB 831 Marijuana; manufacture or possession, accommodation to another individual, penalty: From Republican Senator Bill DeSteph Jr., this bill would reduce some possession penalties from a felony to a class 1 misdemeanor. The language of the bill has a lot of language about intent and other exclusions, but it is notable to see this coming from the GOP.

SB 784 Marijuana offenses; driver’s license forfeiture, etc.: This bill from Alexandria Democrat Adam Ebbin would modify the existing law that suspends a person’s driver’s license when convicted of a drug offense. Ebbin’s amendment would remove this revocation for those placed on probation for simple possession.

Students for sensible drug policy launch ReVAMP, with a goal to end marijuana prohibition in Virginia

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) chapter at Virginia Tech kicked off its ReVAMP campaign on April 20, 2016, to bring to light conversations about drug policies in Virginia.

The Repeal Virginia Marijuana Prohibition (ReVAMP) event is a Virginia-wide event with the goal to end marijuana prohibition in Virginia.



Bipartisan push for medical marijuana

Virginia Congressional Representative Morgan Griffith (R-Ninth District) has joined a group urging President Obama to promote medical marijuana research.

A bipartisan group of congressional representatives and senators sent a letter to President Obama Friday urging him to facilitate medical research on marijuana.

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Ninth District) was one of the group, saying marijuana’s medicinal benefits need more attention and study.


Medical marijuana oil reduces seizures in Virginia Beach teen with epilepsy

We need more positive stories like this in Virginia media.

Caleb Thomas used to have seizures from epilepsy almost daily, some so severe he landed in the hospital.

But during the past year, the 13-year-old Virginia Beach boy’s seizures have dropped by half, along with his hospitalizations – an improvement he and his mother attribute to a controversial treatment: marijuana oil extract.


Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana Oil Goes to Governor

Senate Bill 701 passed in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. The bill allows for the eventual production and distribution of cannabis oils, which supporters say can ease conditions for people with severe epilepsy.

The bill now goes to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk for his signature


Portsmouth Sen. Lucas fails in effort to legalize marijuana derivatives for treating cancer

State Sen. Louise Lucas has been stymied in an attempt to legalize derivatives of the marijuana plant for treating cancer.

Lucas’ legislation, which sailed through the Senate on a 38-2 vote this month, was rejected Monday by a House of Delegates subcommittee after almost no debate, halting its progress for the year.


State Senate Passes Marijuana Reform Law, Allows Oil for Epileptics

The Virginia Senate passed a bill that will allow the production and manufacturing of two different marijuana oils for patients with epilepsy. It’s called the Medical Marijuana Program Improvement bill.

Last year, two bills gave epilepsy patients a defense if found in possession of cannabis oils. But, the law provided no way for patients to actually obtain the oils without breaking federal and state laws.

That’s where this latest bill would change things.


Will Marijuana Med Be Made in Virginia?

Many people who suffer from epilepsy report that a medication derived from the marijuana plant doesn’t get them high but does prevent seizures, and after parents lobbied for their sick children to have access, Virginia’s legislature signed off.  Now, those parents want the General Assembly to legalize manufacture and distribution of cannabidiol or CBD oil as Sandy Hausman reports.


Bill for cannabis oil production advances in General Assembly

Virginia passed a law for the medicinal use of CBD oil for the use of epilepsy, now they have to figure out a way for people to get it legally.

 In 2015, Smith and other families successfully lobbied state legislators to allow the medicinal use of cannabis oil to help treat severe seizures caused by epilepsy that pharmaceuticals cannot cure.

Smith’s daughter Haley had 1,200 seizures before she began using cannabis oil.  Smith said Haley’s seizures have drastically decreased since last year.

Smith and Beth Collins, a mother from Northern Virginia who’s child has similar medical problems, are back at the General Assembly again this year pushing for legislation that would create and allow a regulatory process for production of cannabis oil in Virginia.  Senate bill 701 would make it easier for families with children who need cannabis oil to get it Virginia.

Bill for cannabis oil production advances in General Assembly