Candidate in race for State House District 48 (D) on Tuesday, June 20, 2023
All restrictions on the growth and cultivation of cannabis plants in the Commonwealth should be eliminated. Currently, the Virginia Code limits medical cannabis to oils and concentrates, and this should remain the case for medical cannabis -- as it is highly processed. However, 'whole or partial plant' cannabis (i.e. cannabis that has undergone minimal processing that is not reduced it to an oil or concentrate) should be able to be freely sold and distributed in the Commonwealth without a license to anyone over the age of eighteen years of age with a valid form of ID. Giving cannabis to a minor without medical or parental permission should be a class four misdemeanor, which would carry a penalty not to exceed $250 per individual underage that the cannabis was distributed too.
I support the complete and total automatic expungement of records related to ALL non-violent drug possession charges. I believe in the full decriminalization of all drugs, because there is a desperate need to move toward a treatment model for addiction . The obsessive need to criminalize drug possession and use has ruined and cost lives. There is a strong and desperate need to treat all forms of addiction, and there is also a desperate need to reverse the harm caused by the failed and fool hearty 'war on drugs' -- the best place to start is the automatic expungement of records for non-violent drug possession.
The Report of the 2020 Virginia Medical Cannabis Work Group, which was published this year, made it clear that there are two barriers to medical cannabis in the Commonwealth. The first was a cost barrier and the second was the logistical difficulty in accessing a dispensary.
I believe in the full legalization of marijuana and I fully support the expansion of Virginia's medical cannabis program. Specifically, I believe the hurtles faced by the medical cannabis program should be eliminated or changed in the following ways.
First, current Virginia law only allows for five pharmaceutical processors, one in each health service area established by the Department of Health. Reasonable and non-obstructive guidelines -- on par with other generally considered safe medicinal substances -- should be created and then the licenses should be offered freely and without restriction for pharmaceutical processing of medical cannabis.
Second, there is a limit of 30 dispensary sites for medical cannabis throughout the Commonwealth. Effective immediately every store that is licensed to distribute medication (such as a local drug store) should be able to sell medical cannabis. Medical cannabis should be considered an over the counter medication that can be purchased by anyone over eighteen years of age with a valid form of ID.
Third, medical cannabis may currently contain up to 10mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per dose, with the dose not defined by the Code of Virginia. I believe that this is backward. The Commonwealth, in consultation with medical specialists, need to determine what is a generally considered safe upper dosage of THC. Then, similarly with other over the counter medications such as Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID's) -- sold under brand names such as Ibuprofen -- proper labeling for safety needs to be included on packaging. Restrictions of THC per dose should be limited to half of what is generally considered a safe upper dosage per dose; in other words, taking two doses will bring an individual to the generally considered safe upper dosage amount. There should be no restrictions on the lower amount of THC per dose, so long as it is under half of the generally considered safe upper dosage per dose.
Fourth, as I have said, I believe medical cannabis should be available throughout the Commonwealth at any drug store that wishes to sell it over the counter to anyone over the age of 18 years old with an ID. Consequently, I do not believe that a list of qualifying conditions should be necessary to access medical cannabis. I do, however, believe that grant funding should be set aside to study the benefits of medical cannabis on various health conditions, and the results of those studies should be published in well respected and peer reviewed medical journals so that medical professionals can make informed recommendations to their patients based on actual peer reviewed research. All restrictions on research for medical cannabis should be eliminated, outside of the normal health and safety standards.
Fifth, discussions around proper labeling need to be created so that individuals purchasing medical cannabis over the counter can make an informed individual decision at the time of purchase. This should include all necessary health warnings. It should also include the amount of THC per dose as well as any other compounds and their exact amounts.