We see the advertisements on the television, the music plays and people start barbequing, playing frisbee with their dogs, or walking through their neighborhood greeting neighbors with a smile. A voiceover describes some medical condition, and then, they tell you that there’s a drug that may help. After about thirty seconds of hearing about how the drug may help treat a specific condition, the voice starts to tell you all the things that may go wrong.
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.
In anticipation of the forthcoming issuance of Virginia’s first pharmaceutical processor licenses, the Virginia Cannabis Industry Association (VCIA) will host a launch event at O’Connor Brewing Co,’s Legalize Virginia Festival, Tuesday, September 18. VCIA’s mission is to represent Virginia medical cannabis business owners and industry stakeholders to advance legislation and bring the highest quality, safest, and most compliant medical cannabis products to consumers in the Commonwealth.
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.