Marijuana oil use likely to expand in Virginia

WASHINGTON — Oils derived from marijuana would be permitted under Virginia law for more patients under a bill approved unanimously Friday by the House of Delegates.

The state Senate is set to approve a similar bill Monday.

Under the bills, the affirmative defense against marijuana possession charges for epilepsy patients who get a certification from a doctor would be expanded to allow the medical certifications for patients with any diagnosed condition or disease.

The change would also allow all doctors (M.D. or D.O.) to issue the certifications. Current law only allows neurologists or epilepsy specialists to sign off on the use of cannabidiol oil.

Virginia’s existing law defines the oil as a processed marijuana plant extract that contains no more than 5 percent THC, the chemical in marijuana that can cause a “high.”

Under the Senate version of the bill, processors with a permit who grow marijuana solely for the production of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil would be permitted to dispense a 90-day supply to each patient rather than the current 30-day limit.

Each bill still must be considered by the opposite chamber in order to be sent to the governor for signature. There are five weeks left in the session.

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