Virginia medical cannabis to expand to full therapeutic-strength products

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According to a release issued by the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Senator Siobhan Dunnavant's bill SB 1557 to clarify and improve the regulation of pharmaceutical processors is heading to the governor's desk after unanimously passing its final vote in the senate.

“Last year we passed unanimously the historic Let Doctors Decide bill that expanded patient access to our medical cannabis program,” said Dunnavant, a medical doctor from Henrico. “We got a lot of things right, but there are some screws that can be tightened so the law better benefits the health and well-being of all Virginians.”

The new law aligns with prevailing medical cannabis research by allowing pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis products, stated Virginia NORML in the release. 

Patients will also have access to a greater range of products in other formulations, in addition to oils.

"Full therapeutic-strength is up to 10 mg per dose," stated Virginia NORML on Facebook posts about the new law. "Dose means single unit, like one capsule, one spray, or one dropper full. A patient's dosage may be more than one dose, for example '3 sprays 4 times per day.'"

Virginia NORML has worked alongside the senator in her continued efforts advancing patient-focused medical cannabis policies.

“Ensuring patient access and controlling costs are vital to the success of Virginia’s medical cannabis program,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML. “A positive outcome seen in states with robust programs is an average 25% reduction in opioid overdose fatalities, reduced opiate consumption, and reduced prescription drug-use. These adjustments will significantly increase the potential for similar benefits in the Commonwealth.”

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants will also be able to register as authorized practitioners.

“Virginia patients need safe access to full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis products,” said Pedini. “These common sense clarifications to the regulations will make for a smoother system, and better outcomes for patients, providers and the community at large.”

Currently, health care insurance companies do not provide coverage for patients to use medical cannabis oils, so any associated costs are out-of-pocket expenses. 

Cultivation center for PharmaCann where medical marijuana is grown. The Illinois-based medical cannabis company has locations in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Massachusetts. The company is set to open a new facility in Staunton.

Cultivation center for PharmaCann where medical marijuana is grown. The Illinois-based medical cannabis company has locations in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Massachusetts. The company is set to open a new facility in Staunton.

By the end of the year, Staunton will be home to one of five pharmaceutical processors licensed by the Board of Pharmacy to operate marijuana growing facilities in the state. Illinois-based medical cannabis company PharmaCann will open a facility at Green Hills Industrial Park off Technology Drive and Commerce Avenue and provide a medical dispensary on site. 

Pharmacists at licensed facilities like PharmaCann will be able to provide preparations typically dispensed at compounding pharmacies like compound creams, sprays, capsules, suppositories and lozenges.

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