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Virginia House subcommittee tables medical marijuana bill

(Cavalier) Senate Bill 1298, which was introduced by Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester) last month, would have enabled patients with diseases such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis to possess cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil with written approval from a physician.

The proposed bill listed a total of 12 diseases that would be covered by the “affirmative defense.” Currently in Virginia, only patients with intractable epilepsy are protected by affirmative defense against the possession of medical marijuana oils.

The bill passed the Virginia State Senate last month with a vote of 29-11, but the House of Delegates Criminal Law Subcommittee voted for a motion to table the bill by a voice vote.

Although it was tabled, Bell said the Joint Commission on Health Care will review the bill and come back to the subcommittee with recommendations. The Joint Commission is a year-round body that specializes in healthcare legislation.

“Everyone — even the people who voted for the motion to table and the people who voted against the motion to table — wanted some guidance from the Joint Commission,” Bell said. “We can handle the legal side, but the medical side is not our focus.”