22 Apr Virginia Medical Marijuana Legalized for Epilepsy
February 10th marks a huge win for residents of Virginia suffering from epilepsy, after HB 1445 overwhelmingly passed (37-1) in the Senate.
What does this mean for Virginia?
Virginia will now join the bolstering list of US states with legal medical marijuana laws, not recreational. House Bill 1445 allows residents to pursue a certification by a practitioner of medicine or osteopathy licensed by the Board of Medicine to treat or relieve symptoms of intractable epilepsy.
HB 1445 prevents patients with valid certifications from prosecution for possession of marijuana, as well as medical doctors for dispensing or distributing marijuana for medical purposes, “when such action occurs in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer, epilepsy, or glaucoma,” according to the legislation.
As of the time of this writing, 23 states have passed some sort of medical marijuana laws. Washington D.C., Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska have taken a step further and decriminalized recreational marijuana. Each state has varying limits to legal amounts people can grow and how much a personal can have on them at a time. There are also regulations on where people can smoke the plant.
Effects of Virginia medical marijuana legalization
Colorado put to rest many of the worries skeptical residents and politicians had on the side effects of legalizing marijuana. A report by the Drug Policy Alliance published a report 18 months after Colorado decriminalized marijuana showed the following results:
1) 10.1% overall decrease in crime (from 2013 and up)
2) 5.2% decrease in specifically violent crime
3) Decrease in robbery rates at dispensaries
4) $10.8 million in tax revenue within the first four months
5) Reduced incarceration (est. $12-40 million savings per year by not arresting or citing the 10,000+ violators each year for minor marijuana possession)
6) Hundreds of new jobs created
As we can see, the amount of tax revenue Colorado has generated is significant. To help understand just how beneficial of an impact this will have on the state, think of it this way: that’s $40 million that went directly into Colorado schools.
Legalization also allows scientists to easily study the medicinal benefits of the plant in a new way, as well as bring in more funding for that research.