Va.’s medical marijuana program on track for modest expansion, but bid to sell bud fails

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has begun the process of issuing ten...
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has begun the process of issuing ten certifications for medical marijuana testing facilities.((Source: Pexel/stock image))
Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 6:05 AM EST
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Virginia lawmakers are deferring a push to allow Virginia’s nascent medical marijuana industry to provide patients with raw, smokable flowers in addition to highly processed THC and CBD oils and extracts currently allowed.

Representatives of the five pharmaceutical processors licensed by the state to produce marijuana framed the expansion as a way to make the program more accessible to patients who might not be able to afford more expensive preparations currently provided in the code.

“We’re all about patient access and we want to reduce cost as much as possible,” said Jack Page, chief operating officer of Dharma Pharmaceuticals in Bristol. “We see in other states that have a flower that there is a direct reduction in the cost for patients. There are also certain conditions better treated with flower.”

Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, had put in legislation that would have allowed processors to sell flowers, often referred to as bud. However, he pulled the language from the legislation last month, saying he decided it was important to allow the medical marijuana program to become fully operational before making substantial changes. The first licensed dispensaries aren’t expected to open to patients until later this year.

On Tuesday, Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, revised his legislation addressing the medical marijuana industry to instead convene a workgroup to study expansion, “including … the medical use of cannabis flowers.”

The legislation advanced to the floor with the unanimous recommendation of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.


The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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