Tag Archives: medicalMarijuana

Weekly news update

It’s been an interesting week. In addition to publishing an article over at AltDaily, Change.org also featured our petition and our supporters skyrocketed over a thousand people in less than 3 days!  We’ve got just about a month to reach our goal of 2,500 supporters, so please sign and share!

Adam Ebbin on was on the John Fredericks Show last week for an interview about SB 686.

From the Department of Mixed Messages comes news from Washington. On Thursday Congress passed the so-called ‘cromnibus’ bill, which will fund the Federal Government through next October. A few of the provisions attached to the bill are worth mentioning. An amendment by Maryland Representative Andy Harris would prevent the District of Columbia from enacting Initiative 71, which legalized home cultivation and possession of small amounts of pot. While it may seem a victory for Harris and the anti-legalization crowd,  the incoming mayor-elect of DC has said that she will allow marijuana to be completely unregulated if Congress prevents Washington from enacting Intiative 71.

While the Cromnibus’s  DC rider has been making the most press, another more important provision will also be going into effect, one which will prevent law enforcement from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana patients or legal dispensaries in states in which it is legal. This prohibition on federal enforcement will have a huge effect on the Department of Justice, who’s outgoing Director Eric Holder has recently expressed his willingness for reform.

The DOJ has also recently requested that the FDA consider rescheduling pot from its current Schedule 1 status, which, if enacted, would immediately allow limited medical marijuana in Virgina. On top of that, they have also instructed U.S attorneys not to prosecute Native American tribes from growing or selling marijuana on reservations. This will probably be more important in states with legalization measures in place, and probably won’t affect Virginia’s Pamunkey Tribe in Prince William County. [edit: Twitter user Cleve_N_Twain pointed out that this applies even in states that prohibit pot. /HT]

Current Virginia Medical Marijuana laws

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.