VIRGINIA – In January 2017, at the Virginia General Assembly, Republican state Sen. Jill Vogel submitted medical marijuana bill SB 1298 to the Senate and House.
The bill listed 12 conditions that would benefit from cannabidiol or THC-A oil treatment: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, cachexia or wasting syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and complex regional pain syndrome.
It went to the Senate on Jan. 26, 2017 and passed.
“It had gained widespread support around Virginia, and it was critical to a lot of people suffering from serious illnesses,” said Vogel in a statement.
Vogel was prepared to make the difficult decision to amend the bill down to cancer and Crohn’s disease if that was what it was going to take to get the bill passed, but she wasn’t given the opportunity. When it went to the House Criminal Law Subcommittee two weeks later, the bill died in a tie.
Will we see another medical marijuana bill submitted to the Virginia General Assembly January 2018?
Advocates across the state are pushing for a more comprehensive expansion of the current bill under the campaign #LetDoctorsDecide. The final hearing at the Joint Commission on Health Care was held Tuesday morning, Nov. 21. The commission voted to recommend legislation for #LetDoctorsDecide and will provide its final report on the medical study conducted this year.
“It’s definitely not a party issue,” said Nikki Narduzzi, Staunton Republican and director of Virginia Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) and secretary for Virginia National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
In three polls conducted by Quinnipiac University, Christopher New University, and Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia polling numbers indicate support is growing for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana among Virginia Republicans and conservatives.
The Democratic National Committee panel included marijuana law reform on the party’s official platform in 2016.