By Ben Burstein
Capital News Service
RICHMOND -- Legislation to protect Virginia students who use cannabidiol oil is still making its way through the House after being unanimously passed by the Senate.
SB 1632, sponsored by Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond, requires local school boards to implement policies that keep students from being suspended or expelled if they have “valid written certification” to use CBD and THC-A oil. While both oils are derived from the cannabis plant, neither have an intoxicating effect on those who use it to manage pain and other ailments.
Parents are required to provide written consent, along with details on the reason for use from the practitioner who issued the certificate and pharmaceutical processor that issued the oil. Schools must also be notified of the authorized dosage amount, and when and how it needs to be administered.
CBD and THC-A oils have grown in popularity in recent years with many using them to treat chronic pain, anxiety, attention disorders and seizures.
In Virginia, doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe cannabis-based products. The Board of Pharmacy gave approval to pharmaceutical companies to open five dispensaries across the state to sell CBD and THC-A oils to authorized patients. Last week, legislators killed a House bill to double the number of medical cannabis dispensaries.
Stephanie Anderson, whose son takes ADHD medication, said she is looking into how CBD oil might help him. She said she would want him to be allowed to use the medication at school if it benefits him.
“If we find CBD to be beneficial, I'd want it to be just as easy for him to take at school as the Adderall,” she said.
Two other bills related to medical cannabis cleared the state legislature Wednesday, both with 98-0 votes.
SB 1557, sponsored by Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, expands the amount tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component in cannabis, in a CBD or THC-A dose from five to 10 milligrams. Advocates have said that the increase will serve patients turning to the oil for therapeutic purposes. The bill also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to recommend how a state medical marijuana program will be managed.
SB 1719, sponsored by Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, allows patients receiving CBD or THC-A oil to designate a registered agent to pick up on their behalf, and that person cannot be charged with possession of an illegal substance. The bill establishes a limit on how many patients an agent can represent.