No, Virginia didn't legalize medical marijuana. But supporters say the state is going 'surprisingly far with cannabis oil

When Tamara Netzel decided to get up in front of Virginia lawmakers and talk about medical cannabis oil, she worried about a backlash.

She didn’t have to worry about derailing a career because her multiple sclerosis had already forced her into medical retirement from her former job as a teacher in Alexandria.

She wanted to explain that when she drops hemp-derived oil under her tongue a few times a day, the pain in her arms and hands turns to warmth, bringing relief she says she couldn’t get from a needle nerve block or other government-approved drugs.

Still, she felt uneasy about what people might think if she publicly associated herself with something linked to marijuana.


West Virginia US attorney vows to 'aggressively' enforce federal marijuana laws

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart of West Virginia, a Trump appointee who took office in January, didn’t spend much time in his new position before stirring up some controversy.

Last week, Stuart tweeted about the “gateway theory,” a continuously debunked theory that marijuana leads to the use of harder, dangerous drugs. In the same tweet, Stuart promised to “AGGRESSIVELY” enforce federal marijuana laws.

While U.S. Attorney Stuart, of course, gets to have his own opinions regarding cannabis, he doesn’t get to have his own facts. His tweet collides head-on with much of what scientists have learned about the herb.


Governor of Virginia approves CBD legislation bill

To expand the state’s medical marijuana program, the governor of Virginia approves CBD legislation bill.

In a move sure to make medical marijuana advocates happy, the governor of Virginia approves CBD legislation bill which greatly expands the state’s medical marijuana program. Gov. Ralph Northam signed House Bill 1251 (HB-1251) on Friday, March 9. The new law also allows the use of THC-A oil to treat serious medical conditions.

The Virginia House and Senate passed the bill last month before sending it to Northam for his signature. The Senate’s version passed with a unanimous vote February 5.

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3 states that may legalize marijuana this year

When talking about the fastest-growing industries in North America, marijuana is often near or at the top of the list.

According to recently released data from cannabis research firm ArcView, in partnership with BDS Analytics, the legal weed industry in North America is projected to grow by a whopping 28% per year through 2021.

If accurate, the legal pot industry could be generating nearly $25 billion in sales by 2021.

It's an industry where favorability has shifted dramatically over a relatively short period of time, too.

In 1995, national pollster Gallup found that only a quarter of its survey respondents favored the idea of legalizing marijuana.


The clock is ticking on medical marijuana in West Virginia

Time may be running out on a bill that would expand West Virginia laws for medical cannabis.

The state senate was scheduled to vote on the bill on Friday, but has now delayed that until the final day of the legislative session, which is Saturday. 

The current law allows for only 30-medical cannabis dispensaries in the mountain state, but the new bill would allow for up to 100.

Advocates said it's about allowing greater access, especially in rural areas. 

State Sen. Richard Ojeda, (D) Logan said, "The medical marijuana was focused on trying to take care of so many sick people that we have throughout this state. And it's important that those people have access to medicine."


Army vet demands access to medical marijuana: 'we have more of the worst drugs in our systems now than [cannabis] could do to us'

Twenty-one year Army and Air Force veteran Matthew Rumple became addicted to opioids after being given morphine to deal with an injury he suffered while serving in Iraq, writes Calvin Hughes.


Virginia: The federal government can't decide what to do with veterans and medical marijuana

Many veterans groups are putting pressure on the federal government to allow VA hospitals and doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. But so far the feds have no idea how to handle the situation, writes Joseph Misulonas.

First, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said that his department was barred from researching medical marijuana for vets because the drug's illegal status at the federal level.


Virginia Senate passes bill to allow expungement of first marijuana charge

The Senate on Monday passed a bill that would allow someone charged with possession of marijuana for the first time to later pay $150 to have the charge expunged.

The vote on Senate Bill 954 by Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City, was 38-2. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, said he opposed the bill because it did nothing to stop the racially disparate criminal enforcement of marijuana laws, and he cited public opinion polls saying people no longer want marijuana possession prosecuted as a crime.

Norment acknowledged his measure was not a decriminalization bill, but said it “makes a substantial step forward.”


Virginia moves closer to legalizing a form of medical marijuana

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would legalize medical cannabidiol oil on Friday. 

“It feels great. I was really truly not expecting unanimous,” Beth Collins said.

Collins was surprised to see 98 yes’s and zero no’s for HB 1251.

The legislation would allow doctors in Virginia to prescribe a form of medical marijuana for people living with any condition or disease.

It is called cannabidiol or THC-A.

The oil contains extracts from marijuana that can help with pain and even help fight some cancer cells.

It has been a long, four-year journey for Collins and her family.


Virginia Senate Republicans kill bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

Republicans on a Senate committee Monday killed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana by changing the punishment from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty.

The Virginia ACLU and a representative of the Northam administration both backed Senate Bill 111 from Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and the bill was opposed by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys.

The vote to defeat the bill was party line, with nine Republicans on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voting to kill it and six Democrats voting for the bill.

Republicans in the House had already killed a similar measure from Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth.


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