The Virginia House of Representatives and Senate Legislators passed laws, House Bill 2218 and Senate Bill 1333, that amended the state Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act to allow the manufacture and dispensing of botanical cannabis formulations. The measure is awaiting action from Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who is expected to legally sign the measure.
Under the state’s existing medical marijuana law, licensed growers were required to process cannabis into non-herbal formulations such as oils and tinctures. The new measure expands the pool of legal products to include products that either consist of “cannabis oil or botanical cannabis”.
- Final Chamber of Deputies approval of HB2218
- Final Senate approval of SB1333
Jenn Michelle Pedini of NORML, who also serves as Executive Director for Virginia NORML, praised the legislation. “Botanical cannabis remains the most popular formulation with consumers, and especially older consumers. Limiting patient options to extracted oral formulations is not in their best interests. Botanical cannabis contains more than 100 different cannabinoids, many of which work synergistically with one another. This is an effect that many scientists believe is necessary in order for patients to get the maximum therapeutic benefit. “
The medical cannabis dispensaries started operating in Virginia in the fall of 2020. If the upcoming laws are approved, pharmacies are expected to have botanical cannabis available to registered patients as early as September 2021.
Separate legislation to legalize adult possession of marijuana and license retail sales is advancing in state legislature. Governor Northam continues to offer his public support for the legislation, which is backed by 68 percent of Virginians.
For more information, see Virginia NORML.