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A new agency will oversee Virginia's medical marijuana program in the new year

Updated: Jan 2

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NORFOLK, Va. — 2024 is just days away, and the new year means a few new laws for Virginians. One change: a new agency will soon oversee the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program.

“There are tens of thousands of patients in Virginia and there is a lot of product going out the door," said Virginia Cannabis Control Authority Acting Head Jeremy Preiss.

The Virginia Board of Pharmacy currently oversees the state’s medical marijuana program. But starting January 1,  a new law taking effect will move that responsibility to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.

“We have been investing in staff for the medical cannabis program, we have been investing in technology," Preiss said.

Lawmakers created the CCA in 2021 as the government’s expert resource on public health and cannabis. And in just a few days, Preiss said the CCA will make sure the medical marijuana program is running smoothly.

"Ensure that patients in the medical cannabis programs have access to safe, regulated products," Preiss said. "Will be administering the regulations, enforcing the regulations in the medical cannabis program on medical cannabis providers.”

Preiss said patients, providers, and medical cannabis companies shouldn’t face changes with the switch.

"We have been working with all these groups to ensure there is as smooth of a transition as possible," Preiss said.

But, he said his team will enhance the program. A big priority: getting a "seed to sale" software to track medical cannabis from cultivation to sale at a medical dispensary. It’s something Preiss said other states have.

“This is important because it guards against the diversion of medical cannabis to illicit ends, to illicit markets," Preiss said. "It ensures that illicit unregulated product doesn’t enter the medical cannabis program.”

Preiss said the CCA will also work to get a closer medical cannabis provider to people living in the Shenandoah Valley, Charlottesville area.

“Right now, patients in that area, if they want medical cannabis, they have to travel some distance outside that health service area," Preiss said.

Columbia Care Inc. is the medical cannabis provider for the Hampton Roads area. 13News Now reached out to a spokesperson with the company to see what they think of the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority overseeing the medical cannabis program soon and we are waiting to hear back.

More information and educational materials can be found on the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority's website.


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