Medical marijuana is legal in Virginia.

Fun fact: medical marijuana is now legal in Virginia. With President Obama directing the feds to adhere to state laws in enforcement of anti-marijuana laws, that presumably leaves doctors free to prescribe it under §18.2-251.1, which the General Assembly passed in 1979.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

17 replies on “Medical marijuana is legal in Virginia.”

  1. smoking “pot” or ordinary cigarettes are both carcinogens and marajuana may even have a more concentrated amount of tars that contain the lethal elements.Furthermore pot smoking parents have newborns with birth defects and brain damage. A rose is a rose.
    Who is kidding whom? Didn’t we have billions of dollars in law suits about cigarettes? Are we all just a bunch of pot smoking hipocrites or just fools destined to leave this planet early with COPD;Lung, larynx; esophageal and bladder cancer or early HTN and coronary heart disease leading to heart attacks and heart failure as well as a host of other crippling maladies!!?

  2. Dr. Piat, surely you’ll concede that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol in these and other regards. I don’t believe that one can oppose the legalization of marijuana without likewise opposing the sale of alcohol.

    But, of course, we’re just talking about medical marijuana here, for cancer and glaucoma patients. With cancer patients specifically, we’re looking at people who are very sick as a result of chemotherapeutic drugs, facing a real risk of death from lack of nutrition. They can smoke marijuana to stimulate their appetites and suppress their nausea, or they can starve to death. In the face of such a choice, surely only a deeply cruel person would deny a cancer patient access to marijuana.

  3. I’m not terribly familiar with medical marijuana, but it seems odd that people would smoke it. It seems like it’d generally be consumed in other forms that doesn’t have the negative health effects of smoking, though perhaps smoking is easier for people who’re having trouble eating.

    Anyway, I certainly don’t doubt that smoking pot has negative health effects, but then, that’s not really a good basis for prohibiting it (I’m also against the prohibition of alcohol, cheeseburbers, and loud music).

    Oh, and “Didn’t we have billions of dollars in law suits about cigarettes?” Yes, we did. We had those lawsuits because those companies actively sought to deceive the public in harmful ways for decades. I don’t care if you’re selling cigarettes, tires, or real-estate, if you’re knowingly lying to your clientele about the safety of your product, you’d better be ready to pay a steep price.

    Besides, we already have drug dealers in this country. Are you saying that legal pot dispensaries will have worse business practices than the businesses that currently supply marijuana to the US?

  4. All I know is that if medical marijuana is made illegal, I’m screwed. I’ll go back to being constantly nauseous. I had never done drugs in my life (except one joint in Switzerland!), but at age 33 I got a condition that caused incredible pain and nausea. I went to tons of doctors and tried every nausea medication and therapy I came across, and nothing worked until I finally tried marijuana. I couldn’t believe it.

    I had the same concerns about smoking it. Not only am I a non-smoker, but the idea of smoking when I was already totally nauseous sounded heinous. I originally tried eating it (in chocolate chips and hard candy), then I did try a pipe (which apparently I’m not coordinated enough to do right), and finally I bought a vaporizer, which gives the quick relief of a pipe without the negatives of smoking.

  5. Ben, I was doing some reading on wikipedia yesterday that may shed some light on the smoking vs. eating issue. I was about to take some melatonin to try to rejigger my sleep schedule and was curious about why it wanted me to take it sublingualy (eg let it dissolve under my tongue) rather than just swallowing it. Basically, digestion is very slow and all the effort the body puts towards breaking down food (namely bile and acid) can reduce the effectiveness of some chemicals. Under the tongue, however, things can apparently be absorbed directly into the blood stream. I presume this is also true of the lungs. So while eating pot obviously works, it would definitely take longer and possibly require consuming a larger quantity to be as effective as smoking.

    On an interesting note, I also learned about a mechanism in (or near) the brain called the blood brain barrier that provides an extra filter for
    blood coming into the brain. It is apparently quite
    good at removing nasties like drugs and alcohol from the bloodstream. That’s why snorting drugs is done: it bypasses said barrier. Even more interestingly (at least to my nerd self), this is why it’s a dangerous to consume alcohol and drugs simultaneously: alcohol reduces said barrier’s effectiveness and allows a larger percentage of those drugs into your brain.

  6. If the general assembly decided to legalize this back in 1979, there must have been some compelling evidence. Has that changed? I suspect that back in 1979, there there were not a bunch of pot smokers in the legislature but that they were interested in helping sick people.

    So what I want to know know is what is the process for setting up a marijuana dispensary? And are there any docs who will prescribe it?

  7. I don’t think anyone has any illusions that inhaling hot gases along with some particulate matter into one’s lungs is not without some deleterious effects.

    The issue is whether marijuana is so harmful and the consequences of it being a highly sought after black market product is worth keeping it illegal.

    I have never heard of anyone who died from lung cancer induced marijuana smoking although I’m sure it is possible it could have happened.

  8. why can’t doctors just get patients to invest in a vaporizor so the harmful chemicals of burning the marijuana won’t get into the patients lungs. I’m sure patients could get that covered under medicaid for chronic conditions. Mabey if more doctors prescribe marijuana for stuff like depression and pain we’d have less people getting harmfull side effects. The ones I see on the commercials are horrable. Mabey less people would be getting addicted to harmful pain meds or sleeping aids if they could just take a few inhales off of a vaporizor and ease there minds and bodies. Does anyone that actually matter in these decisions ever even read this kind of stuff?

  9. I don’t see why everyone has to make is such a big deal, legal or illegal it helps a lot of sick people. Even the people that aren’t sick that use it, they don’t run around killing people like drunk drivers do, and they aren’t like people who are cracked out. So I think everyone just need to check up on the facts that originally made marijuana illegal back in what the 30s or 40s and just make it legal again. Either way people are going to do it.

  10. You can always use a vaporizer to cut down a lot on the smoke. You can also eat it, fry it in butter for brownies. I remember even making it part of the stuffing for a Thanksgiving turkey. It will release it’s essence in alcohol, water just takes off the chlorphile. I am personality not very interested it doing it, I am old and take to many real meds.

  11. I won’t even address those who consider marijuana as equally or more dangerous as alcohol, since obviously those people are either poorly educated or willfully ignorant. All I can say is that anything stronger than motrin means horrific nausea and often vomiting, so my choice when dealing with pain is to deal with it or endure days (yes, one small dosage can last days for me) of feeling incredibly ill or not being able to keep my food down, not to mention the days of recovery after enduring the effects of these medications. I suffer from a chronic pain condition and the only relief I get that doesn’t make me ill (and that actually WORKS) is marijuana. Unfortunately, it is a felony in my state, so I still get my weed from dealers that I’m not comfortable with and who say they are selling me one type of strain when I get another. This is a huge deal for me as certain strains help relieve pain, others significantly aggravate that pain.

    What would we lose by legalizing marijuana? So what if people abuse the system and use their MMJ card to get high with their buddies? It is FAR less dangerous than alcohol in every aspect, it’s a taxable industry which would greatly boost the economy, and it would help the many people who actually need it, but don’t feel like downing a bunch of strange chemicals from companies with questionable motives (Big Pharma).

    I can respect differences of opinion in a lot of areas, but as far as I’m concerned, anyone who opposes medical marijuana is a grade A moron.

  12. I was not aware that morons came in different grades. Is it better to be a grade B moron than A?

    Just some unsolicited advice- calling anyone who doesn’t agree with you a moron (no matter what the grade) is unlikely to advance your agenda or get anyone to come around to your way of thinking.

    That said, I thoroughly agree that it should be decriminalized. I’m not entirely clear about what the difference is between that and legalization. Unfortunately there are millions in the substance abuse, legal, law enforcement and incarceration industries that have a vested interest in seeing it remain as it is.

    But can you not get a prescription from a doc? If so, why are you not protected as per VA law as the original post stated?

  13. “Grade-A moron” is an expression…just search Google. And considering you advocate refraining from unpleasantries when responding to an issue, I’m surprised that you’re resorting to sarcasm in order to support your point.

    Getting a doctor to prescribe marijuana in VA is extremely difficult because it is not a “traditional” MMJ state. While technically legal in some cases, you’re hard-pressed to find a doctor willing to sacrifice his career/reputation by prescribing pot, basically. Compound that with the fact that finding a doctor even in California who knows the legal dosages, etc to prescribe can be a challenge, let alone a doctor who is knowledgeable enough about medical marijuana in VA. Just going to a doctor with a Virginia statute in hand is unfortunately not enough to assuage most doctors’ misgivings about getting involved with MMJ.

  14. YOu call it sarcasm. I call it humor. But either way, I promise I’ll be more serious from now on. No more funny stuff.

    As far as finding a MMJ doc in VA. I’d be willing to bet it will be soon getting easier.

  15. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer until most if not all states are able to look past the scare tactics and recognize the true value of MMJ, although when I run searches on it I find threads from the late 90s and early 00’s making the same argument and hoping for the same changes, so it may still be awhile. Not to mention VA has a lot of military, and I’m guessing it’ll be even longer before Tricare covers MMJ (although one can dream).

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