Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Virginia House Subcommittee

Photo Credit: Rappler

Delegate Ben Cline’s legislation expanding the ability for doctors to recommend non-hallucinogenic THC-A and cannabidiol (CBD) oil was approved by a House Courts of Justice Subcommittee on Jan. 24.

HB 1251 “provides that a practitioner may issue a written certification for the use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for the treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit for such use.”

HB1251 will update existing Virginia code, which currently only allows CBD/THC-A oil to be prescribed for intractable epilepsy. This change will allow doctors to use the treatment as a pain management tool as they determine medically necessary. This bill is a result of a recommendation of the Joint Commission on Health Care, of which Cline is a member.

“CBD/THC-A oil has been proven to effectively and safely help patients address symptoms of intractable epilepsy and manage pain,” said Cline. “With Virginia fighting a growing opioid crisis, this also has the potential to reduce dependence on addictive narcotics. By expanding the ability to prescribe CBD/THC-A oil, we are giving doctors the freedom to make a recommendation based on the most up to date research and data, just as they do for any other medication they prescribe. I’m pleased to see this move out of subcommittee, and look forward to it being signed into law.”

Cline represents the 24th House district, including the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, Bath County, Rockbridge County and parts of Amherst and Augusta counties.

“Nine out of ten Virginians support doctor-recommended medical cannabis,” said Virginia NORML’s executive director, Jenn Michelle Pedini. “All Virginians deserve access to the safe, regulated medical cannabis medicines that will soon be produced in the state. These powerful Joint Commission on Healthcare have strong bipartisan support and their passage would bring relief, and hope, to millions in the Commonwealth.”

Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s SB726, the Senate version of the Joint Commission on Healthcare’s “Let Doctors Decide” bill is in Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Monday, Jan. 29.

According to Pedini, Cline’s companion bill should be on the docket in House Courts of Justice next week.

“These changes to current Virginia code will give licensed providers another tool to help treat their patients with the most appropriate and effective treatments possible,” wrote Sen. Dunnavant in a recent blog post.