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Updated: 14 hours 25 min ago

Florida Judge Says Medical Marijuana Patient Can Grow His Own Medicine

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 11:10

On Wednesday, Leon County Judge Karen Gievers ruled that Joseph Redner, a 77-year-old cancer patient, may grow his own marijuana plants. Redner is a registered medical marijuana patient in Florida. Unfortunately, the Department of Health has already filed an appeal and will fight the decision.

Tampa Bay Times reports:

The ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers applies only to Redner, 77. The Florida Department of Health responded quickly, filing an appeal.

The department had said Floridians are barred under state rules from growing cannabis for their personal use, including those who are legally registered as medical marijuana patients.

But Redner and other critics across the state say the health department continues to create barriers for more than 95,000 registered patients in Florida that could benefit from marijuana. Redner is a stage 4 lung cancer survivor and a registered medical marijuana patient.

“Under Florida law, Plantiff Redner is entitled to possess, grow and use marijuana for juicing, soley for the purpose of his emulsifying the biomass he needs for the juicing protocol recommended by his physician,” Gievers said in her ruling. The word “solely” is bolded and underlined for emphasis in the document.

“The court also finds … that the Florida Department of Health has been, and continues to be non-compliant with the Florida constitutional requirements,” the judge added, referring to the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2016 that made medical marijuana legal.

Redner’s attorney, Luke Lirot of Clearwater, said the judge was right to “castigate the health department for being a barrier to medicine.”

While this ruling only applies to Joseph Redner, it most certainly opens the door for other Florida patients to finally be allowed to cultivate their medicine at home.

The post Florida Judge Says Medical Marijuana Patient Can Grow His Own Medicine appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Albuquerque Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 11:01

Yesterday, Albuquerque, New Mexico Mayor Tim Keller signed an ordinance that decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana under city law.

Once the ordinance goes into effect, the city’s penalty for under an ounce of marijuana will be a $25 civil fine. It will go into effect five days after it is published by the city clerk. Council members Pat Davis and Isaac Benton sponsored the ordinance, which passed the council in a 5-4 vote.

Police Chief Mike Geier voiced his support, saying, ”This new legislation allows officers to focus on violent crime, property crime and drunk driving.”

It will still be possible for a person to be charged under the statewide penalty — a fine of up to $50, up to 15 days in jail, or both. If you are a New Mexico resident, please let your state legislators know you want the state follow suit and stop criminalizing marijuana consumers.

The post Albuquerque Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Lead the Marijuana Legalization Movement

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 09:48

The Marijuana Policy Project is looking for our next Executive Director to run the nation’s leading marijuana policy reform organization! We are taking advantage of our first-ever change in executive leadership to cast the widest net possible so we can find just the right person to lead us into the future at this critical juncture in marijuana policy.

We are looking for a leader with a personal commitment to marijuana policy reform and individual liberty who has the drive, skills, and experience to end marijuana prohibition. Marijuana reform is one of the country’s most popular and bipartisan issues, with public support more than doubling over the last 20 years. The opportunity has never been greater to make historic changes to the nation’s marijuana laws.

The Executive Director will lead the team responsible for over half of the current medical marijuana and adult use legalization laws in the country. The position develops and implements the organization’s political strategy and goals in conjunction with the staff and Board of Directors. Ensuring fiscal stability is a major part of the job, and the ideal candidate will have a track record of successful fundraising and a demonstrated ability to run a fast-paced, mission-driven organization of 20 or more employees with a primary focus on changing laws.

Find the full job description here.

Interested parties should contact edsearch@mpp.org with a cover letter, resume, and a list of professional references.

Matthew Schweich, the current executive director, is committed to leading the organization until his successor has been named. He will then focus his attention on the Michigan and Utah ballot initiatives campaigns. Mr. Schweich joined MPP in early 2015 as the director of state campaigns, and he was the campaign director for the 2016 legalization ballot initiative campaigns in Maine and Massachusetts, and also worked on the 2016 Nevada campaign. He was named executive director of MPP in November 2017.

The post Lead the Marijuana Legalization Movement appeared first on MPP Blog.

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We Have a Winner for MPP’s 2018 Shirt Design Contest!

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 07:43

After two rounds of voting by thousands of our supporters across the U.S.A. — beginning with a public vote on Facebook before moving on to a members-only vote —we are excited to announce the winner of the Marijuana Policy Project’s 2018 T-shirt Design Contest.

Congratulations to Michelle Geiger of Apollo Beach, Florida! Her polished and imaginative design features our organization’s full name, our motto We Change Laws, our website URL (mpp.org), and our inaugural year all cleverly shaped to represent MPP’s nationwide impact. 

We look forward to using this new shirt to help amplify our advocacy and educational efforts on the state and federal levels, starting with its unveiling at the National Cannabis Festival on April 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. It will also be available in multiple color and size variations on our online shop this summer.

Thanks to everyone who participated in MPP’s 2018 Design Contest and for your ongoing commitment to MPP’s mission. Between the integral role MPP played in passing adult-use marijuana legalization in Vermont and our successful efforts to secure state medical marijuana protections in Congress, we have already made significant progress this year. With upcoming ballot initiatives in Utah (medical marijuana), Michigan (adult-use), and other states this year, your continued support is crucial.

The post We Have a Winner for MPP’s 2018 Shirt Design Contest! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Maine Legislature Passes Commercial Marijuana Regulations

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 07:09

This week, the Maine House and Senate overwhelmingly passed LD 1719, which would set up Maine’s adult-use marijuana market. MPP was neutral on the bill, as it removed social club licensing from the initiative voters passed in 2016. LD 1719 also reduced the number of plants adults can cultivate at home from six to three flowering plants. That said, it’s been 18 months since Maine voters passed Question 1, and it is time that adults had a legal place to purchase marijuana.

Given the veto-proof margins that LD 1719 passed by, we are uncertain if Gov. LePage will veto the bill. If he does, many lawmakers will have to change their votes to sustain his veto. We will keep you posted on what happens next.

The post Maine Legislature Passes Commercial Marijuana Regulations appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Former House Speaker John Boehner Reverses Position on Marijuana

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 07:09

Early this week, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner announced his support for descheduling marijuana at the federal level. At the same time, he revealed his plans to become advisor to a multi-state marijuana industry firm with dozens of locations. This is a stark departure from his previous stance on marijuana. While in Congress, Boehner voted in favor of legislation that prevented the District of Columbia from implementing its voter-approved medical marijuana program for more than a decade, and was a vocal opponent of legalization.

Marijuana Moment reports:

Boehner, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), is joining the Board of Advisors of Acreage Holdings, which holds 35 licenses for cannabis businesses across the U.S.

“When you look at the number of people in our state and federal penitentiaries, who are there for possession of small amounts of cannabis, you begin to really scratch your head,” Boehner said. “We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there.”

In a tweet, Boehner, who did not endorse marijuana law reform while serving as the House’s top official, said he now supports removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, a process known as descheduling.

In a 2011 letter to a constituent, the speaker wrote, “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug. I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.”

But now, Boehner says that he and Weld will advise Acreage on navigating confusing and conflicting federal and state marijuana laws.

While Boehner should be commended for seeing reason and adding his voice to those calling for sensible marijuana policy reform, many advocates are concerned that he is set to profit from policies he opposed and is not doing enough to counteract the impact of his words and actions while in office.

MPP’s Morgan Fox told The New York Times that Boehner “should be actively working to reform federal marijuana laws to allow states to determine their own policies, rather than just consulting with a business to navigate the conflicts between state and federal law. His positions on the issue while in House leadership most likely slowed progress for marijuana reform legislation, and he owes it to anyone whose life has been negatively impacted by a marijuana arrest to use his considerable influence to make up for that.”

 

The post Former House Speaker John Boehner Reverses Position on Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.

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MPP Continues Making Progress in 2018!

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:24

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the progress MPP has made so far in 2018:

CONGRESS — In March, MPP helped coordinate the congressional advocacy effort that succeeded in renewing the federal policy that prevents Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department from interfering in state medical marijuana programs. This is an extremely important protection for patients and caregivers across the country.

VERMONT — Years of MPP-led advocacy work in the Green Mountain State yielded a major victory in January, when the legislature became the first ever to enact a marijuana legalization law legislatively (as opposed to a ballot initiative). We continue to work in Vermont with the goal of passing a law next year that will allow regulated and taxed sales (the current law only allows possession and home cultivation).

SOUTH CAROLINA — MPP, working with allied patients and loved ones, is maintaining an aggressive push for medical marijuana in the state legislature. Our bill was recently sent to the Senate floor, and we now have majority support in the House, leaving us well-positioned for passage in 2019.

MASSACHUSETTS — After winning the 2016 ballot initiative campaign and defending the law from political interference in 2017, we have remained engaged in the year-long implementation process in the Bay State. MPP has also been pushing back against local marijuana business bans. As a result of MPP’s work in Massachusetts, the licensing process for marijuana businesses just started, and the first adult-use marijuana stores in New England will open later this year.

CONNECTICUT — Since last year, MPP has led the advocacy effort to legalize and regulate marijuana in Connecticut. Last Thursday, for the first time ever, a committee approved a legalization bill, sending it to the full House.

MPP is also playing a leading role in two ballot initiative campaigns:

MICHIGAN — The Michigan marijuana legalization campaign is leading in the polls, but might face a well-funded opposition campaign. You can donate directly to the Michigan campaign here.

UTAH — The Utah medical marijuana campaign is supported by over 70% of Utah voters, but still needs to finish its signature drive. You can donate directly to the Utah campaign here.

There is no shortage of work ahead in 2018 but, with your support, MPP can and will continue to win. Thank you for your commitment to the Marijuana Policy Project mission.

The post MPP Continues Making Progress in 2018! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Tomorrow Is the Last Day to Vote on Mpp’s Next T-Shirt Design!

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 08:55

Over the past two weeks, MPP members have been voting for the Marijuana Policy Project’s next official T-shirt, and on Thursday, April 12 we’ll be ready to announce the winning design. Tomorrow is the last day of members-only voting, so be sure to cast a vote for your favorite design today!

To learn more about MPP’s 2018 T-shirt Design Contest and view the guidelines for voting, please visit our contest webpage.

MPP members comprise the core of our supporters, providing the vital resources we need to change laws across the country. With medical marijuana likely on the ballot this year in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and an adult-use legalization initiative on the ballot in Michigan this November, the next few months are crucial for our movement.

The post Tomorrow Is the Last Day to Vote on Mpp’s Next T-Shirt Design! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Connecticut Committee Approves Legalization Bill

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 11:07

This afternoon, the Connecticut Joint Committee on Appropriations voted 27-24 to approve HR 5394, a placeholder bill that would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults. The details of the legislation will be fleshed out in the coming weeks.

When the legislative session began, most doubted that any marijuana-related bill would make it out of committee in an election year. Today’s vote shows just how far we have come on this issue.

Congratulations are due to our legislative champions, members of the committee, and the dedicated advocates who have never given up and continued to push for progress.

While we still have a long way to go before final passage, this vote shows that education and advocacy work. If you are a Connecticut resident, please ask your state legislators to support marijuana legalization this year.

 

The post Connecticut Committee Approves Legalization Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Bills to Improve Maryland Decriminalization Law Stuck in Committee With Deadline Approaching

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 10:09

Maryland has decriminalized the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. But 10 grams is a lower threshold than the vast majority of states that have eliminated jail time for cannabis possession, many of which use one ounce as the cutoff. As a result, in 2016 at least 4,300 people were criminally prosecuted for cannabis possession in Maryland. SB 127 would raise the threshold to one ounce.

SB 128 would address the problem that people in possession of less than 10 grams are still being criminalized in some jurisdictions by being charged with “possession with intent to distribute” — a felony — based on very limited evidence (like having their cannabis in more than one baggie). In order to address this overcharging, SB 128 would create a legal presumption that people who have less than the amount decriminalized should not be charged with possession with intent to distribute.

Both of these bills are sitting in the House Judiciary Committee, and with the legislative session ending Monday night, lawmakers need to hear from you to ensure the bills get a vote.

If you are a Maryland resident, please ask your delegates to make sure SB 127 and SB 128 pass this year.

The post Bills to Improve Maryland Decriminalization Law Stuck in Committee With Deadline Approaching appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Delaware Task Force Releases Legalization Report

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 08:55

Earlier this month, the Delaware Adult Use Cannabis Task Force voted to release its final report. Thank you to the co-chairs, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Helene Keeley, and all the members of the task force who have worked tirelessly to thoroughly review the issue before presenting their findings.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana in other states has created jobs, generated tax revenue, and increased tourism. It also attracts new businesses and makes the state more appealing to younger professionals all while undercutting the illicit market. Considering a majority of Delaware voters support making marijuana legal, there is no reason for delay.

When the legislature returns from the break, it will be time to proceed with legislative consideration of HB 110, which would legalize, regulate, and tax adults’ use of marijuana. Marijuana is safer than alcohol, and adults who choose the safer option should not be punished. Instead, they should be able to support Delaware’s economy by purchasing safe, legal products from state-licensed businesses.

The post Delaware Task Force Releases Legalization Report appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Medical Marijuana Bill Advances to Senate in South Carolina

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 11:59

The Senate’s version of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act passed today in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. Lawmakers on the committee voted 8-6 in favor of sending the amended bill to the floor.

This is a tremendous step forward, but time is short for a vote by the full Senate. Lawmakers only have until April 10 to vote and send the bill to the House before time runs out this year.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, introduced last year by Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories. The department would also issue registration cards to qualifying patients and their caregivers. Patients would not be able to smoke medical cannabis under the bill as amended by the committee. South Carolina would have one of the most carefully regulated programs in the country under this bill.

While it’s unlikely that the Senate will vote on S. 212 before the clock runs out, it’s crucial that senators hear from their constituents while the bill is on the floor. If the bill doesn’t pass this year, we can build momentum for next year.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please send an email to your senators asking them to support S. 212.

 

The post Medical Marijuana Bill Advances to Senate in South Carolina appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Jersey Announces Major Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 10:33

Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference to announce numerous changes to the medical marijuana program in New Jersey that will greatly improve patient access. These include:

  • Approving additional qualifying conditions under a process that was begun in 2016 — including chronic pain and opioid use disorder — which will help reduce opioid dependence and overdose.
  • Setting up a process to add additional businesses and remove the vertical integration requirement, which will increase competition and therefore reduce prices for patients.
  • Eliminating the physician registry, so that all doctors who wish to do so can recommend medical cannabis to their patients without jumping through hoops.
  • Removing the 10% THC cap imposed by regulation, because some patients need products with more THC for the most effective treatment.

In addition, the Department of Health’s report recommended additional changes, which would have to be made by the legislature. These include increasing the amount of cannabis that patients can purchase each month and allowing patients of all ages to purchase edibles if that’s their preferred delivery method.

You can read the Department of Health’s full report here. MPP will continue to work with the administration as it implements these changes,

The post New Jersey Announces Major Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Mpp Calls for N.H. Study Commission Chair’s Ouster After Attempt to Shut Down Legalization Bill

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 10:14

We have been expressing concerns about the make-up of New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study commission since last spring, when the bill creating that commission was rewritten by the Senate to exclude reform supporters. We even asked Gov. Chris Sununu to veto the bill last July rather than create a study commission that would not be viewed as credible by the general public.

Sadly, although we have tried to work with this commission, it has now become clear that our initial concerns were well founded. In particular, it has been very frustrating to watch as the commission’s chairman, Rep. Patrick Abrami, has used his influence as vice-chair of the Ways and Means Committee — including by misleading the committee about testimony presented to the study commission — in an attempt to prevent HB 656 from advancing to the Senate.

We believe the people of New Hampshire deserve better. Please sign our petition now to join us in urging House Speaker Gene Chandler to replace Rep. Abrami with an unbiased legislator.

The post Mpp Calls for N.H. Study Commission Chair’s Ouster After Attempt to Shut Down Legalization Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

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MPP’s Illinois Primary Voter Guide

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 11:52

Primary Election Day happens tomorrow in Illinois, and voters’ choices will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. Lawmakers are now considering legislation to end marijuana prohibition and legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over. Illinoisans should take a close look at whether candidates will stand up for sensible marijuana policy reform.

We’ve done some of the work for you. If you haven’t voted already, please check out our Illinois Voter’s Guide to see where the candidates appearing on your ballot stand on cannabis reform. For more information, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s website here.

While elected officials are more supportive of legalization than ever before, we want momentum to build, and this year’s elections will have a big impact both in the legislature and in the governor’s office. It’s crucial that supporters of cannabis reform make their voices heard in Illinois.

The post MPP’s Illinois Primary Voter Guide appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Louisiana Lawmakers Considering Penalty Reduction, Medical Expansion

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 10:13

Last week, the Louisiana Legislature convened, and bills to reform the medical program and decriminalize small amounts of marijuana have been filed! These bills are important steps towards patient access and sane marijuana policy in the Bayou State.

Under the current laws, if you are caught with marijuana in Louisiana, you could be facing jail time. HB 611 would change this by instituting a $100 fine for those caught with up to one ounce of marijuana. HB 579 would expand patient access to medical marijuana by allowing more conditions to qualify, such as intractable pain, PTSD, and other conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana.

If you are a Louisiana resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support these sensible reforms.

The post Louisiana Lawmakers Considering Penalty Reduction, Medical Expansion appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Deadline Looming for Maryland Cannabis Bills

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:02

Monday is a crucial deadline for marijuana policy reform bills in Maryland. HB 1264, which would let Marylanders vote on regulating marijuana for adults, needs to move out of the House Judiciary Committee by then to stay alive this year. HB 602, a bill that would protect the rights of Maryland’s medical cannabis patients, must be voted on by the Senate in order to “cross over” to the House of Delegates and move forward during this session.

If approved by 60% of both chambers of the Maryland Legislature, HB 1264 would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2018 ballot that would make possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 years of age and older and require the state to establish regulations and taxation for a legal cannabis market, as well as to ensure diversity in the cannabis industry.

HB 602 would ensure that patients don’t lose their Second Amendment rights under state law simply because medical cannabis helps them with their serious illness. Regardless of what you think about Maryland’s gun laws, no patient should have to lose any of their legal rights because of their status as a patient. This is of particular concern to veterans, who may be dissuaded from trying medical cannabis — a much safer alternative to the opioids they are frequently prescribed for pain or PTSD — because they don’t want to lose these rights.

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New Jersey Governor Commits to Legalization

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 13:48

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reiterated his commitment to voters in his budget yesterday, which states that: “New Jersey will join other progressive states such as California, Massachusetts, Washington, and Colorado by legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana,” by January 1, 2019. In his speech, he also refuted claims by opponents that decriminalization alone would address the harms of marijuana prohibition.

“Decriminalization alone will not put the corner dealer out of business, it will not help us protect our kids, and it will not end the racial disparities we see,” he said. “If these are our goals — as they must be — then the only sensible option is the careful legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana sales to adults.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. If you are a New Jersey resident, please thank Gov. Murphy for his continued commitment to sensible marijuana policy and urge your lawmakers to support ending prohibition in New Jersey.

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N.H. House Committee Tries to Crush Legalization Hopes

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 15:22

The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee is attempting to abuse its power by recommending that the House kill the marijuana legalization bill. If the House agrees to the committee’s motion of “interim study” when HB 656 reaches the floor next week, the bill will be dead for the year.

As a reminder, the New Hampshire House has already voted 207-139 to pass HB 656. Instead of legalizing retail sales — which is something a study commission is considering — the bill as amended would simply allow adults to cultivate six plants, three of which could be mature. It would also legalize possession of three-quarters of an ounce or less, and marijuana in excess of that amount would be legal as long as it is stored along with the plants that produced it. You can read a summary of the bill here.

HB 656 should have gone directly to the Senate after it passed the House, but instead it was sent to the Ways and Means Committee, which only deals with issues related to revenue. Some legislators are trying to make this issue complicated, but HB 656 is actually very simple and there is no good reason not to move the bill forward.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please email your representatives right now and urge them to oppose this outrageous action by the committee.

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Virginia Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 15:02

Last Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill into law expanding access for medical marijuana in Virginia. The law allows for practitioners to recommend CBD or THC-A oil for any condition they think would be beneficial to patients. Previously, only those suffering from intractable epilepsy could qualify for CBD or THC-A oil.

Additionally, the law allows any physician to recommend oil to his or her patients. Under the previous law, only neurologists and epilepsy specialists could give a recommendation for medical marijuana. HB 1251 is also considered emergency legislation and went into effect immediately.

We are excited about the many Virginia patients whose lives will be improved by this law.

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