On July 1, a trio of medical marijuana bills signed in March by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam went into effect. Each expands Virginia’s medical marijuana program in important ways, from increasing access for students and people with disabilities to giving doctors more control to recommend medical cannabis.
After an unsuccessful bid to legalize recreational marijuana earlier this year, Virginia lawmakers turned their attention toward expanding access to medical marijuana under the state’s 2015 “affirmative defense” law. Their efforts resulted in the passage of three new medical marijuana laws, including one of the most progressive school-use bills in the United States. Now that those three new medical cannabis laws have taken effect in Virginia, more patients than ever will be able to access the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
“Let Doctor Decide” Bill Will Put More Products in Dispensaries
Medical marijuana in Virginia isn’t technically legal. Instead, medical marijuana patients have a kind of legal exemption, known as “affirmative defense,” that protects them from criminal charges for possessing and consuming cannabis. The affirmative defense law for medical marijuana took effect in 2015, allowing patients to register with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy with a doctor’s recommendation certifying they can obtain