In Virginia’s 2019 General Assembly (GA) Session, five of six proposed cannabis-related bills passed and will soon reach the desk of the Governor, ushering in some significant changes to the Commonwealth’s medical cannabis program. Among them, allowing full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis preparations, and the addition of physician assistants and nurse practitioners to the list of providers permitted to make medical cannabis recommendations.
On September 25, 2018, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy met in closed session for more than five hours before awarding five conditional permits to five separate companies who will likely become the first Pharmaceutical Processors of Medical Cannabis in Virginia. Following this exciting announcement, these conditional license permittees will undergo background checks and, upon satisfactory results, will begin the arduous process of creating Virginia’s first vertically integrated Medical Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and retail facilities. The state’s program started in earnest in 2015, and due to the advocacy of Virginia patients, caregivers, legislators, and healthcare providers, expanded to its current state in just three short years.
Virginia’s medical cannabis program is moving forward, with a notice of proposed regulations and a new physician registration form. However, the Board of Pharmacy, whose ad hoc committee is currently evaluating pharmaceutical processor applications, has signaled that it will not be announcing the conditional permit recipients at its August 14th meeting, as was previously expected. The 53 applicants to the Board may be looking at a delay of weeks or months.
In the meantime, physicians can begin to prepare for increased demand from Virginians for medical cannabis certifications by registering with the Board of Pharmacy using its new application form. Also, industry stakeholders have until August 22nd to comment on the proposed regulations to replace the emergency regulations adopted by the Board earlier this summer.
Nixon Law Group, a Virginia-based boutique law firm representing clients in the healthcare industry exclusively, announced today that Kaitlyn O’Connor, Esq. has joined the firm as Counsel. Kaitlyn will be based in Nixon Law Group’s Richmond office, but will divide her time between Richmond and Williamsburg.