Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia supports medical marijuana bills

state-capitol2By Suzanne Bischoff

The Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia calls State Senate Bill 1235 and House Bill 1445, as well as other bills for expanded use of certain marijuana compounds for epilepsy, a good first step.

The EFVA and the national Epilepsy Foundation strongly support the initiative to sponsor legislation to amend the state code to add an article to 54.1 and to amend articles 18.2 250.1. 18.2-251.1 and 18.2.258.1 and to include epilepsy in the list of disorders for which certain marijuana compounds Cannabis subtracts can be used. EFVA worked hard to get the FDA to approve extended (compassionate) use for cannabis CBD oil with neurologist Dr. Lyons in Winchester.

EFVA experience suggests that even when prescribed by a physician, Virginians have a hard time finding the product. The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s scheduling of marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence gives potential growers a pause. So does article 18.2.248.1 in the Virginia code, which punishes cultivation of larger quantities of marijuana.

Once the legislature have amended the laws above, we might propose to the VA department of Health to convene a task force with members of law enforcement, epileptologists, parent of children with uncontrollable epilepsy and organizations like ours. Bringing some clarity into our federal and state laws will certainly help better research and clients with epilepsy.

Finally, in the research under auspices of the national Epilepsy Foundation, we may find more than two marijuana compounds that help epilepsy. A wider reference to the plant as a whole might be preferable to limitation to two kinds of compounds.

Suzanne Bischoff, Ph. D., is the executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia.

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