We’ve talked about Virginia’s medical marijuana laws before, however we wanted to post again to clear up some confusion since information on the subject isn’t well known.
Currently, Code of Virginia § 18.2-251.1 states, in part:
No person shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-250 or § 18.2-250.1 for the possession of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol when that possession occurs pursuant to a valid prescription issued by a medical doctor in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.
This law was passed in 1979. Why then, aren’t there medical dispensaries all throughout the state? It’s because the statute uses the term “valid prescription” and the current Schedule 1 status of marijuana prevents doctors from prescribing it, making the law void. For this reason, most medical marijuana statues use the word “recommend” instead.
It is worth noting that this law has survived challenges in 1998 and 2014, but until the current wording is changed or marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug is changed, this law will have no effect.
While there are no bills on the currently on the schedule for the 2015 session that would change any of this, Senator Adam Ebbin’s SB 686 would decriminalize possession of an once or less, and is our best hope for advancing legalization this year in Virginia. Please sign our Change.org petition to help make sure this bill makes it out of committee and to the Senate floor for a full vote by all Senate members.