The Virginia Senate voted Thursday to allow oils derived from marijuana plants as treatments for 13 new diseases and conditions, including cancer.
Senator Jill Vogel’s Senate Bill 1298 cleared the state Senate 38-2. Sen. Vogel, R-Winchester, has said there is clinical or anecdotal evidence that the oil helps in each case. The Bill would not legalize the use of the oil, but instead provide an “affirmative defense” for people in possession of it. The measure heads to the House where it may be more scrutinized by what has traditionally been the more conservative chamber on drug laws.
In an online post published Monday, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam promoted decriminalizing marijuana possession.
“One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana. African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement—money that could be better spent on rehabilitation…[as a doctor] increasingly convinced by the data showing potential health benefits of marijuana, such as pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD.”