More than 30 US states, as well as Washington DC, now have laws on the books that permit some sort of medical cannabis treatment. That includes Virginia, where lawmakers chose to expand the program – before the first product is even developed.
It’s been a couple years since state lawmakers approved plans to open five pharmaceutical processing centers. All will produce cannabis oil, benefitting patients with CBD, or cannabidoil, and THC, the main chemicals used in the medicine.
But it took a while to expand treatment to conditions other than epilepsy. Just this spring, the General Assembly decided on higher dosage limits – and allowed it in different forms, like capsules, sprays, patches, and lollipops.
Jeff Bossert reports on the future of Virginia’s medical cannabis program.
“If you know anything about multiple sclerosis, it’s different every day, the morning than it is in the afternoon, ” says Tamara Netzel, a hopeful patient from Alexandria. “I’m very excited about Virginia taking these steps, learning as they go. We have the advantage of actually looking at the programs- what has worked and what hasn’t worked in other states.”
The last couple of years, Netzel has had to break federal law, bringing back cannabis products across state lines.
But with a doctor’s recommendation, and valid registration from the State Board of Pharmacy, she should be able buy it in Manassas, the location of one of those first five producers of medical cannabis oil.
After a rigorous application process, the Board selected one dispensary for each of Virginia’s five health service areas. The others will be in Bristol, Staunton, Richmond, and Portsmouth.
State Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant suggests as many as 100,000 Virginians could benefit from those sites, but is anxious to actually see the statistics.
“We want to make sure