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Virginia senate approves medical marijuana

[JURIST] Virginia's Senate approved legislation on Monday allowing doctors to prescribe oils containing mostly non-psychoactive cannabis extracts, making Virginia part of the majority of states to approve medical marijuana.

The bill [text, PDF] was approved unanimously in both the state house and senate. Under the legislation, Virginia's doctors will determine which patients may use medical marijuana, as long as they have "any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use."

The bill expands on the 2015 Virginia law [JURIST report] that legalized an affirmative defense to possession for those suffering from epilepsy, as long as they obtain permission from their doctors to use cannabis oils.

The 2018 law classifies two types of prescriptions: Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, or THC-A oil. CBD oil must contain at least 15 percent CBD but allows for up to 5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana. THC-A oil must contain at least 15percent of tetrahydrocannabinol-acid, a non-psychoactive chemical, and no more than 5 percent THC.

The Virginia Board of Medicine will be in charge of implementing the registration system for the program.

The bill now goes to Governor Ralph Northam, who has expressed his support.

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