RICHMOND, Va. – Using medical marijuana oil for people who suffer from severe epilepsy is now legal in Virginia.
The legislation doesn’t legalize the use of medical marijuana, or establish a distribution system, but it means that individuals with epilepsy won’t face prosecution for possessing cannabis oil.
Beth Collins hugged her 15-year-old daughter Jennifer as Gov. McAuliffe prepared to sign the legislation.
Cannabis oil, supporters say, can help control seizures that don’t respond to other medications. The families that lobbied for the new law say it will make a huge difference in the lives of many Virginians with epilepsy.
“It allows my daughter to stay home. And we don’t have to go back to Colorado, where we’ve been for the past year. So she can get the medicine here and stay in a place where she belongs with her family,” said Beth Collins.
“I’ll be able to get better test scores, do better in school, not have rages any more, be able to get off my meds and that’s amazing,” explained Jennifer Collins. McAuliffe said no state should have laws that force its citizens to move to receive medical care.
“And sometimes I understand through the legislative process that sometimes it’s not easy. But you never gave up, you persevered and you did it for your children,” said McAuliffe.
Virginia law allows possession of marijuana for patients with cancer and glaucoma, but it requires a prescription and that’s currently illegal under federal law.
Reporters asked the governor if the new Virginia law would open the door to wider use of medical marijuana in the state. If the science shows there is a medical benefit that can improve people’s lives, McAuliffe said he is open to considering it.