Waiting for the green light? What you need to know about Virginia’s medical cannabis program – Chesterfield Observer

ILLUSTRATION BY LARISSA TYLER

ILLUSTRATION BY LARISSA TYLER

With the backing of Gov. Ralph Northam, Democratic majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, and growing public support, Virginia could well be on the doorstep to legalizing recreational marijuana use.

As the General Assembly session kicks off this week, efforts to legalize cannabis will be front and center. But even if legalization passes, it could take up to two years to sort through the myriad issues – establishing stringent regulations for how and where cannabis is sold, for example, and how it would be taxed – according to a work group established by the General Assembly last year. Indeed, a bill unveiled on Wednesday and authored by the Northam administration would permit retail sales to begin in 2023.

In the meantime, however, medical cannabis use is already legal in Virginia. And it’s gaining acceptance in the medical community as an effective treatment option for everything from chronic pain to autoimmune conditions to seizure disorders.

Last year, the Virginia General Assembly voted to replace the terms “cannabidiol oil” and
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