How to apply for medical cannabis in Virginia

Published Aug 30, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Rex_Wholster

It can be difficult to navigate the various systems and processes that are required from one region to the next to receive verification of a need for medicinal cannabis, but once permission is finally received, it’s an incredible feeling that can eventually lead to a much higher quality of life. In the US, federal cannabis legislation does not exist, but several states have chosen their own version of legalization, including Virginia.

Virginia cannabis laws

By law, recreational cannabis remains prohibited for the residents of Virginia, though they do allow a meager 1 ounce to be considered personal use, getting caught with any amount could result in charges or fines, but medical patients do have options. Four years ago, a strictly CBD medical program began here, and since then, it has evolved into a complete medicinal cannabis program that covers a wide variety of medical conditions and symptoms.

These days, those who are seeking the medical benefits of cannabis can apply to the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition (VMCC) for access to multiple cannabis products that boast a range of various strengths of CBD and or THC cannabis products. Unfortunately, in the early days of the program, there were producers, but now that there has been approved to expand on the current program in place, there will be a total of 5 producers to serve medicinal patients.

Qualifying conditions

If you’re hoping to get connected with this program in some way, then it is important to know that you’ll have to be approved and to do that, you will need to have one of the following qualifying conditions or symptoms or in the very least, a recommendation from a licensed medical doctor.

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • ALS
  • Lou Gehrig's Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • CRPS
  • Dystonia
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Lupus
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • PTSD
  • Residual limb pain
  • Seizures
  • Severe or recurring muscle spasms
  • Terminal illness with less than one-year life expectancy
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury

How to apply for medical cannabis

Virginia cannabis laws dictate that any person can access medicinal cannabinoids as long as they can prove that they need it to achieve relief, and it isn’t as simple as handing over a history of medical records to bolster your chances. If you want to get approved, then you will need to seek a licensed medical practitioner who is willing to say that they believe that you’d benefit from this kind of treatment.

If your current doctor isn’t on board, then you will need to find a new one if you want to proceed because you cannot file an application with the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition (VMCC) for yourself.  You are going to need help to fill out all of the necessary paperwork and to monitor your progress along the way, but that’s not all; You’ll also need a doctor with the right credentials for the job.

Finding a medical practitioner

You can find out if your doctor is licensed by checking here because even the professionals need to register in order to be considered qualified enough to carry out a cannabis-derived treatment. If they aren’t registered, and you need some assistance finding someone who is local that can help you out, the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition (VMCC) is there to help by scheduling you an appointment with one of their many highly qualified physicians.

How to access cannabis after approval

After you receive a verification letter of certification, you’re only partway through the process, and now you’ll have to register as a patient with the Board of Pharmacy. On their website, you can find a detailed guide on how to complete this stage, but you will need to have a few things ready in order to complete the application, including:

  • $50 registration fee
  • Proof of written certification from a licensed practitioner
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of age
  • Proof of identity

This application will process relatively quickly, with an average wait time of between 7-10 days, and once it’s finished, you’ll receive a registration card in the mail. Once you have the card, an appointment will be arranged with a processor from the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition (VMCC), who will connect you with a pharmacist and cannabis products.

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