Virginia Gov. Approves Bills to Ban Delta-8 and Improve Medical Cannabis Access

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) approved bills this week seeking to ban delta-8 THC and eliminate requirements for medical cannabis patients to register with the state Board of Pharmacy.

Full story after the jump.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect that the proposed delta-8 ban could still be overruled by state lawmakers.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) this week signed legislation to eliminate the requirement for medical cannabis patients to register with the state Board of Pharmacy before being allowed to purchase medical cannabis in the state and proposed changes to other legislation that would ban delta-8 THC products. The governor is also proposing increasing penalties for individuals caught possessing more than two ounces of cannabis.

The new medical cannabis rule, which takes effect July 1, will help clear a backlog of 8,000 patient registration requests, according to a Richmond BizSense report.

Del. Roxann Robinson (R), who sponsored the legislation in the state House, said “by eliminating the Board of Pharmacy registration, patients will have quicker access to acquiring their therapeutic prescriptions of medical cannabis.”

Patient registration with the board requires a 60-day waiting period and a fee. Board of Pharmacy spokeswoman Diane Powers indicated that there are about 47,000 medical cannabis patients currently registered in Virginia.

The move to ban delta-8 would also limit the sale of smokeable hemp, MJBizDaily reports. The law redefines THC in Virginia statutes to eliminate any mention of “delta-9,” which means hemp companies are no longer allowed to sell intoxicating THC isomers, such as delta-8, outside licensed cannabis businesses.

The legislation also prohibits the sale of cannabis edibles that could appeal to children, particularly those shaped like “a human, animal, vehicle, or fruit.”

Youngkin’s support for increasing penalties for possessing more than two ounces of cannabis follows a similar recommendation made by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) prior to the state’s legalization law taking effect, WRIC reports.

The amendment is included on a bill from Virginia Sen. Emmett Hanger (R) to which Youngkin also included a proposal to prohibit CBD sales to individuals under 21-years-old. Those amendments will be considered on April 27 by lawmakers who can either accept or override the proposals with a two-thirds majority vote.

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