Virginia’s GOP Governor Youngkin Signs Legislation to Improve Medical Cannabis Program

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed HB 933 and SB 671 (identical bills), to provide numerous operational improvements to the state’s medical cannabis program which requires that patients obtain written certification from a health care provider to access cannabis.

The new legislation eliminates the requirement that patients register with the Board of Pharmacy after receiving their written certification from a registered practitioner, reported NORML on Monday.

In addition, the legislation amends the definition of “cannabis oil” by removing the requirement that only oil from industrial hemp is used in the formulation of cannabis oil.

“These legislative improvements will bring great relief to the thousands of Virginians waiting to access the medical cannabis program,” said JM Pedini, NORML’s development director and the executive director of Virginia NORML. “We hear from dozens of Virginians each week who are struggling with the registration process and frustrated by the 60-day wait to receive their approval from the Board of Pharmacy.”

There are currently over 47,000 program registrants, with an estimated 8,000 applicants still awaiting approval.

The new laws will take effect on July 1, 2022. Until that time, patients will still be required to register with the Board of Pharmacy in order to shop at one of the state’s ten operational dispensaries.

“During the 2022 Virginia General Assembly, Republican members of the House General Laws Subcommittee halted any further advancement of Senate-backed legislation, SB 391, that sought to initiate retail marijuana sales to adults beginning this September. Personal possession and cultivation of small quantities of cannabis by adults 21 and older is already permitted in Virginia under the 2021 legalization law approved by former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam,” added NORML in a press release.

Photo by STEPHEN POORE on Unsplash.

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