Tag Archives: SB 1235

General Assembly Update

The Virginia General Assembly continues its 2015 session, and here’s a rundown of what’s happened thus far:

SB 686, Sen. Adam Ebbin’s bill, which would have decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, was passed by indefinitely by the Senate Committee for Courts and Justice, in spite of several recent polls that show a majority of Virginians support it.
The 9-5 vote was by party line, which Democratic Senators Puller, Lucas, Edwards, McEachin, and Saslaw voting in favor, and Republican Senators Reeves, Garrett, Stanley, Vogel, McDougle, Norment, Obenshain, Stuart, and Chafin opposing.

We worked very hard in support of this bill, gathering some 2800 supporters on our Change.org petition, but the Senators have refused to listen. We can only hope that they be held accountable this fall, as 2015 is an election year.

Now for the good news.

SB 1235 just passed the Senate today 37-1. This bill will allow the use of Cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil for the treatment of epilepsy. No word yet on who the one vote against was yet.

HB 1445 has passed through the House Committee for Courts of Justice and will be up for a vote before the full House. This bill will amend Virginia’s current medical marijuana laws, allowing patients to possess pot with a doctors recommendation, and adding epilepsy to the list of allowed ailments along with cancer and glaucoma. [update 2/9/14: It looks like we missed this, but on 2/4 the House committee actually put forward a substitute that seems to match SB 1235. This bill would not allow for the use of marijuana, only cannabis oil, and would have no effect on the glaucoma and cancer patients. ]

HB 1605, Sen. Kenneth Plum’s bill which would make medical marijuana available for all ailments, is still in limbo in the House Committee for Courts and Justice. Hopes aren’t high for this bill, but we’ll continue to watch this one and update you accordingly.

Industrial hemp has cleared the House and Senate and will be sent to Gov. McAuliffe’s desk for signing. The bill clears the way for hemp cultivation in the state when the Federal government finally lifts the ban on hemp.


Medical Marijuana Bills Gain Support from Epilepsy Advocates

Last weekend the Virginia State Senate Committee on Education and Health convened a hearing on SB 1235, a bill from Alexandria’s Sen. David Mardsen, which would allow for the use of cannabidiol and THC-A oil for the treatment of epilepsy. Several families were on hand to present testimony at the hearing, including Lisa Smith, who’s daughter Haley actually had a seizure before the legislators, and Beth Collins, who had to leave the state with her daughter Jennifer to seek medical marijuana in Colorado. Mrs. Collins told the legislator that cannabis oil give her daughter a better quality of life than the other medications that are available to her, which have harsh side effects.

These hearings follow the news that the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia supports SB 1235 and HB 1445, which we have previously covered here.  An article from EFVA executive director Suzanne Bischoff appeared on the Augusta Free Press last week, advocating for changes to the Code of Virginia and steps by the State Health Department to help make this plant available to those that need it and to further research of marijuana’s beneficial health effects.