The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (“VDACS”) Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh sent a letter (the “July Letter”) to all Virginia-registered Industrial Hemp Processors (“Processors”) on July 15, 2019 notifying the Processors that Governor Northam’s office has directed VDACS to “treat hemp-derived extracts intended for human consumption as approved food additives and to place qualifying Registered Industrial Hemp Processors under food safety inspection so that inspected and approved processors may manufacture a hemp-derived extract for human consumption.”
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.
Nixon Law Group’s Cannabis attorneys assist clients with licensing for growing/cultivation, processing/extraction and dispensing; intellectual property; real estate and equipment leases, and business/corporate transactions.
On February 21, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 99-0 (1 abstention) to approve HB 1251, a bill that will dramatically expand the state’s medical cannabis laws. The bill was sent to Governor Ralph Northam for signature and – thanks to an emergency clause recommended by the Governor himself – will be effective immediately once he signs. With this bill, doctors will now be able to recommend the use of medical cannabis oil to patients with any diagnosed condition or disease that the doctor determines will benefit from such use.