It’s been well over half a year since the Virginia medical marijuana law has taken effect. Since March 10th, when Governor Ralph Northam ratified HB1251 with his signature, the affirmative defense for possession of medical cannabis oils has been expanded to any diagnosed condition. To be clear, this in no way has legalized possession, but what it has done is provided an affirmative defense.
Affirmative Defense Certificate
What is an affirmative defense? It’s complicated, and we are cannabis doctors, not esquires in law mind you, but the long and the short of it is that if you are charged with possession, you’ll need to print out the Affirmative Defense Certificate that applies to your situation. Take it to your marijuana doctor (that’s us!) for she or he to sign, being sure to keep the signed certificate with you at all times. You are then able to present your signed certificate a full ten days before your Virginia trial. If, for whatever reason, the certificate is not accepted and you are still charged with possession, you should then call your lawyer or ask for court-appointed counsel.
It’s very important to understand that the passage of HB 1251 only concerns oil products. Additionally, the medicinal oil in question must contain a minimum of 15 percent CBD or at least THCA-A, with no percentage of THC exceeding 5 percent. Hence, the piece of legislation doesn’t apply to flower cannabis products or any other oil-based products that fall out of the ratios mentioned above.
There’s no mistaking the passage of this legislation as anything but encouraging. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, the chief co-patron of the legislation, said this about HB 1251 and its passage: “The passage of HB 1251 is an important next step to improving the lives of so many Virginians and sets an important precedent for laws like this across the country.”
At the same time, the progress we’ve made is far from complete. Medical marijuana patients are still forced into taking risks until medicine becomes available at licensed Virginia facilities. Experts estimate that 2019 is the earliest we might see something like that happen in our great state. This is exactly why medical marijuana patients should be aware of the affirmative defense process.
It’s Worth It!
Though the progress is slow and the specifics confusing, we’d do well to not forget the remarkable benefits that medical cannabis oil has to offer. Not only does the introduction of medical marijuana contribute to the minimization of addictive narcotics, but patients can experience benefits that include dramatic pain relief for a wide variety of medical conditions.
We Are Your Virginia Cannabis Doctor Of Choice
While this blog post is by no means exhaustive, we hope it serves as a good starting point for our readers. If you’d like more information about how you can find natural relief with medical marijuana in Virginia, check out our dedicated resource on Virginia medical marijuana when you have the time.
My Anting-Aging MD serves Alexandria and Arlington, VA, providing medical marijuana prescriptions at our cannabis clinic. Request your free consultation today!