In their editorial on April 20, the Roanoke Times editorial board considers the future of legalization of cannabis in Virginia. I would like to highlight the medical cannabis program in Virginia, which already has been thoughtfully designed to serve patients and will soon be fully functional as processors of medical cannabis open their facilities to patients in 2020.
I am the Chief Operating Officer for Dharma Pharmaceuticals, the medical cannabis processor licensed by the Board of Pharmacy to serve this region’s patients. We are members of the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition, which advocates for medical cannabis patients and consists of the processors of medical cannabis, who will open their first facilities across the state this year.
There are important basics for patients to know about accessing treatment, especially following this year’s General Assembly session, which was a huge win for patient access.
Virginia’s medical cannabis processors will cultivate plants at our facilities in a controlled environment and manufacture a variety of products for treatment. To participate in the program, a patient must first be recommended for treatment by a health care practitioner. After receiving a recommendation, the patient has to register with the Board of Pharmacy. Once patients receive their medical cannabis card, they will be able to meet with pharmacists at processor facilities, who will counsel them on treatment options.
Thanks to this year’s legislative session, each processor will be able to open up to five dispensaries, making it easier for patients to receive access to medication across the state. Other legislation passed this year benefits patients, caregivers, practitioners and pharmacists in the program. Practitioners will be able to work with patients through telemedicine to facilitate treatment, part-time Virginia residents will be able to become patients and the definition of cannabis oil will be clarified to improve the way we implement treatment options.
As a member of the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition, Dharma looks forward to serving patients in Summer of 2020 and continuing to improve access to medical cannabis treatment. For information on how to become a registered patient or practitioner, you can visit www.vmccoalition.org.
JACK L. PAGE
Chief Operating Officer, Dharma Pharmaceuticals