Oct 102010
 October 10, 2010

Recently, a reader left a comment on an article stating that his state has had legal medical marijuana since 1979, but his state still hasn’t implemented a program. I had never heard this before, so I had to research it. Technically, in Virginia, medical marijuana is legal, and has been since 1979.

In 1979, the Virginia General Assembly passed the following law:

Virginia Code § 18.2-251.1. Possession or distribution of marijuana for medical purposes permitted.

A. No person shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-250 or § 18.2-250.1 for the possession of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol when that possession occurs pursuant to a valid prescription issued by a medical doctor in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

B. No medical doctor shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-248 or § 18.2-248.1 for dispensing or distributing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol for medical purposes when such action occurs in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

C. No pharmacist shall be prosecuted under §§ 18.2-248 to 18.2-248.1 for dispensing or distributing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol to any person who holds a valid prescription of a medical doctor for such substance issued in the course of such doctor’s professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

In 1998, a bill was introduced to repeal the medical use provision, but it was defeated after opposition materialized from Virginians Against Drug Violence. So, from what I can see, doctors can legally prescribe medical marijuana in the state of Virginia. However, if this is true, I don’t know why it’s not more widely known.

Please, if you have any more information on this or if I wrote any inaccuracies leave a comment and tell me!

About No Inhale

Weed is always on my mind, but never in my system.
  • Ronnie

    If this is true, you only read what you want to read… It is legal for a doctor to prescribe marijuana to people with GLAUCOMA or CANCER only.

    • Virginian

      yes this is true i had a friend whos mother recieved THC that said she never got and “weed” she got pills untill her chemo made it so she could not swallow then she got a liquid. without it she could not stand to even use a feeding tube without vomiting but after a drop she could. also she never seemed to be “high” just a bit more lively and could stand to “eat” if that is what you could really call it, sadly by this point it was too late and she passed from malnutrition, she had tried for 5 years prior to get it but stage 2 and 3 cancer dont get it they wait until stage 4 to prescribe and from what i have seen with my own family (whom never recieved it) stage 4 is too late for anything to work.

  • DeaconGreen

    But it uses the word “Prescription.” A “Prescription” is a Federal Contract between a physician and a patient. Since it is a Federal Contract and Marijuana is in Federal Schedule I a physician cannot write a “prescription” for Medical Marijuana, the Dr can only recommend it, not prescribe it. That’s exactly why Medicaql Marijuana failed in Arizona in 1996 because they used the word “Prescription.” If a state uses that word the program is being set up to fail on purpose.

    • mugen

      A “Prescription” is a Federal Contract between a physician and a patient

      Where the hell did you get that idea? Prescriptions are not intrinsically Federal, and are not in any way a contract. Yes, there are difficulties inherent in writing prescriptions for substances which are illegal at the Federal level, but to say that a prescription is a Federal contract is astoundingly off the mark.

      • Buzzby

        A license to prescribe medications is granted by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Any health care provider who prescribes a medication not listed in the US Pharmacopeia (such as cannabis) would be subject to losing that license, as would any pharmacist who filled it.

    • Tanya Williams

      wow…there is always a catch!!!

  • Uncle Homer

    There is the same phony situation in Wyoming. Wyoming State law says its illegal for anyone OTHER THAN THOSE WITH A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA to possess marijuana.

    Then in the state laws governing doctors they make it illegal for any doctor in Wyoming to prescribe Marijuana.

    I detest that kind of legal phoniness.

  • http://www.jayselthofner.com/ Jay Selthofner

    Great find, keep digging in other states also. Check out Wisconsin and The Therapeutic Cannabis Research Act (TCRA) from 1982, signed into law on April 20th if I am not mistaken..but….Unfortunately for patients, the Therapeutic Cannabis Research Act (TCRA) was written with the expectation the federal government would supply the medical cannabis.

    http://www.jayselthofner.com/wordpress/1982/04/medical-marijuana-wisconsin-1982/

    • http://www.virginianorml.org/ Dee

      Since cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic by the DEA (Federal agency), it means that by definition it has no medicinal value. A doctor cannot write a prescription for something with no medicinal value. Although pharmacies are regulated by state laws, they must be possess a DEA issued license to dispense controlled substances. So in essence, a prescription is a Federal instrument used between a physician and patient. The physician and the pharmacy would face legal sanctions as well as a loss of license for prescribing and dispensing a Schedule 1 narcotic. It would be the equivelent to getting a prescription for Extasy and getting it filled at CVS.

      The key is in the rescheduling.

      • Tanya Williams

        im not understanding 1 they lable weed a schedule one narcotic when its simply a plant…NATURE!!! whenever there is something good that they cant make money off they have to put all types of shit in the game to make it wrong….

      • wef

        Um, no. Just because I am prescribed marijuana does not mean I have to fill my prescription at a pharmacy.

  • http://www.marijuanamarketindex.com Scott

    The problem is the phrase “valid prescription”. The prohibitionists will argue that any prescription for bud is invalid because it would not be legal at the federal level. Since the feds govern what is a valid prescription and what is a valid drug, they would argue that since marijuana is not valid at the federal level it is not valid for a doctor to prescribe it, even in state.

    This is another interesting intersection between the interests of stoners and those of the states’ rights crowds at the tea parties.

    • wef

      It does not say federally valid. What is valid on the state level is likely the intent of the law.

  • http://bbs.servers-blog.com johnson

    It’s good article site.

  • Duncan20903

    I was living in Virginia when they passed that law. The lawmakers were direct that their intention was to kowtow to the Federal government on this issue. I may have been the one to make the post that resulted in getting this article posted as I do post that up from time to time.

    There were a number of States that did this following the same line of reasoning that as Virginia. It was all in response to Bob Randall winning his suit against the Federal gov’t which led to the Compassionate IND program which is where those Federal patients that you see with their cookie tins of UMiss bunk weed at various protests get their supply. Irv Rosenfeld, George McMahon, Elvy Musikka being the ones that show up at rallies. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both Elvy and George. I must tell you I don’t envy them for their GI cannabis. The garbage that UMiss provides is possibly as much as one step better than Mexican bunk weed. They take the plant seeds and all and put it into a food processor. They use a solvent to extract the oil then spray it back onto the cannabis so that every joint has an identical THC percentage. The IND patients aren’t allowed to do anything to the cannabis except to smoke the pre-rolled joints. Snap, crackle, pop. I recently saw a article about Irv Rosenfeld and he was advertising that he smokes while he drives. I was thinking that guy must have horribly pockmarked upholstery from all the seeds popping off while he smokes. I sure hope he doesn’t get a DUI-m if one lands on a particular appendage that’s not mentioned in polite company. At least Florida’s not a “zero tolerance” DUI-d State.

    People should be cognizant of the fact that every State has their own specific regulations regarding prescription drugs. The Federal Uniform Controlled Substances Act has resulted in 50 carbon copies of Federal drug scheduling. They don’t have to have a carbon copy of the members of the list. For example pseudoephedrine which can be used to start a meth lab, is schedule 3 in Oregon, and requires a prescription. Mississippi is the only other state that requires a Rx. Psuedoephedrine is still schedule 5 as far as the Feds are concerned.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Controlled_Substances_Act

    This year Oregon and Iowa have both moved cannabis to schedule 2, which means that they have made cannabis a prescription drug at the State level. No, there aren’t any doctors who are going to risk their DEA numbers to write a prescription, but if they did they would only be in violation of Federal law. Previous to the change those doctors could have been charged with crimes by the Feds and the State, convicted and sentenced in both. No, double jeopardy is not an issue. This issue has been litigated to the Supreme Court which found no double jeopardy concerns.

    It’s a very tortured piece of logic but the way to figure out the relationship between State and Federal law you need to understand the concept of dual sovereignty. Dual sovereignty doesn’t require, but does allow duplicate criminal codes. Both or either Sovereign can declare something illegal and try and convict you of a violation.

    These State’s laws legalizing Rxs of cannabis don’t have any practical efect but patients in states with “worthless” medical cannabis lawswill be significant when the Feds relent and start allowing cannabis to be medically mainstreamed and prescriptions to be written by doctors and pharmacies to fulfill them.

    So far the best analogy I’ve come up with to explain the roles of both Sovereigns is the Federal Income tax. I wonder how many people have pondered why there isn’t a State in the Union that criminalizes Federal income tax evasion.

  • sam

    I have been suffering from chronic pancreatic issues and biliary stenosis and spincter oddi and lupus and now maybe ms.I go to a pain dr. We had a long talk about medical “Pot” He also thought it should be allowed to be prescribed for pain freely with no red tape,I asked him if one of his patients came in testing positive what would he do, she stated” The medical practice (Doctors) would have to set down and talk about the medical issue the patient has and also would have to take into thought it’s not legall but he did say cancer patients can be prescribed a pill THC”, He said he could prescribe it for eating issues but ” We all know it helps chronic pain” I have been laying in bed climbing the wall in a attack and know if I was able to smoke it would relax me enough to help calm the attack,but then I would be in a big mess if at my next appt. They urine tested me and it came up,so I will stick to disabling pain and Er costs and co-pays for meds till the decide to help those of us who life’s are over come by chronic pain and other medical issues they won’t make it legall for..

  • sam

    sorry In my post talking about I would ask my dr. What would happen if someone tested positve what would he do,” He stated that he would have to talk with the other drs and take into mind that is NOT legall.”

  • jon shefford

    its not used because doctors are scared of the DEA and, as you can see in the article of virginia above, it is only for cancer and glaucoma. I have multiple sclerosis and marijuana for medicinal is the ONLY way I get through the day, the only reason Im not bed ridden. So, if they refuse to make it legal for medicinal marijuana dispensaries, I will have to keep getting mine from the black market. Sorry, but I refuse to suffer because a politician doesnt see how it helps his pocket. I would rather have a happier, SHORTER life, due to the contaminated bud on the black market, than a long miserable life.

    • joe jumper

      Do you use the Black market reloaded?

  • Jim

    Doctors can prescribe marijuana but the law also forbids prescribing any drug considered a level 1 narcotic by the federal government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000326551440 Beverly Propst

    Has Marijuana ever been tested to see if it PREVENTS Cancer? If Cancer comes about because of stress this would be the CURE. FDA and BiG PharMA it’s all about the money and MJ cannot be patented. My Mom got cancer from stress and took her Marinol to help her eat, but she died anyway. This has to be changed. If people can pass out drunk why can’t we pass out stoned? I just want 8 hrs of sleep each night, as we age we lose hormones, MJ would help with hormonal changes. I may have to move to another country.

  • terrorist96

    It’s more of a symbolic law, since marijuana is still considered schedule 1, it cannot legally be “prescribed.” Had the law used the word “recommendation” – which is what all the medical marijuana states use – then that would be different. So, until weed is rescheduled to at least Schedule 2 or lower, the Virginia law is only a symbolic law and has no effect.

  • Linda G.J.L.

    Virginians write to: Governor Robert F. McDonnell C/O Governor Patrick Henery Building 3rd Floor 1111 East Broad Street Richmond, Virginia 23219 or call 804 786 2211 or visit his web site and ask him if you can get a pass to see a medical marijuana doctor in Washington D.C. since that is the closest doctor that will help you. It has been legal in Virginia since 1979 but we have no doctors that will help here.

  • Bill Hembree

    Regarding the misunderstanding of Virginia Bill – § 18.2-251.1. Please acquaint yourself with the terminology therein.

    Doctors can only “recommend” medical marijuana — See below, where the code uses the words “a valid prescription” —

    Federal law prohibits doctors from “prescribing” medical marijuana -

    This precise wording in the code is what renders the Virginia statute ineffective, unlawful, and void.>

    Medical use, § 18.2-251.1 of the Code of Virginia states:[5]

    A) No person shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-250 or § 18.2-250.1 for the possession of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol when that possession occurs pursuant to a valid prescription issued by a medical doctor in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

    B) No medical doctor shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-248 or § 18.2-248.1 for dispensing or distributing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol for medical purposes when such action occurs
    in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

    C) No pharmacist shall be prosecuted under §§ 18.2-248 to 18.2-248.1 for dispensing or distributing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol to any person who holds a valid prescription of a medical doctor for such substance issued in the course of such doctor’s professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

    In 1998, a bill was introduced to repeal the medical use provision, but it was defeated after opposition materialized from Virginians against Drug Violence

    Bill Hembree/ President/ MedicalMarijuana.com