History of CBD and Cannabis: Virginia
Historically, Virginia has been one of the least active states concerning cannabis legalization and decriminalization. However, some experts believe that the tides will change as residents, lawmakers, and enforcers shift their opinions on sensible cannabis reform.
Nearly two decades after California, Virginia hesitantly began its own medical marijuana program amid public pressure. However, the medical program is extremely conservative among all of the United States cannabis reform policies. Less than one percent of all physicians registered in the state are able to write prescriptions for cannabis.
The question on everyone’s mind is: how has Virginia’s political history resulted in only tepid support for cannabis decriminalization and regulation?
Cannabis, CBD, and Virginia
Currently, cannabis with a higher concentration than .5 percent THC is completely illegal in the state of Virginia. In fact, carrying even small traces of marijuana may constitute a misdemeanor, which could incur jail time, a criminal record, and recurring fines.
Additionally, possession charges could result in revoked access to public health services and a removal of driving privileges. Ultimately, these policies have resulted in unprecedented disparities between more wealthy communities with less policing and targeted minority communities. Individuals are not even able to qualify for expungement, meaning that the charge could remain on the user’s record for life.
Interestingly, there was a time when Virginia was considered one of the most lenient states on cannabis arrests. Those charged with possession could get lightened charges if they could prove terminal illness, chronic pain, or glaucoma. In the nineties, offenders could remove all charges by participating in community building programs and treatment.
However, Virginia cannabis policy has not advanced spectacularly since the seventies. Doctors are able to recommend cannabis treatments, yet there is little state involvement in actually providing cannabis-based medicine or CBD.
Recently, there have been several legislative attempts to soften cannabis punishments. The Senate’s justice committee has rejected several bills that would decriminalize cannabis possession and remove license-revoking policies from state law.
Despite slow movement, legislative members continue to push for cannabis reform. The attorney general Mark Herring recently claimed that cannabis should be legalized, causing many new conversations throughout both parts of the legislature. In fact, Senator Stephen Heretick has stated that decriminalization would be one of his priorities in the upcoming legislative session.
Additionally, a 2015 bill finally legalized the use of low THC CBD products in the treatment of long term illnesses. CBD oils and capsules can now be recommended by any doctor in the treatment of cancer, epilepsy, cachexia, and severe nausea.