Major changes are coming in Virginia's medical marijuana laws. Lawmakers unanimously approved legislation to allow all doctors to prescribe an oil extracted from weed for anyone who needs it. The change came about from a grassroots struggle.
It's been an emotional fight by Virginia families desperate to help their children. They brought their pain and suffering—including a child's seizure—straight to the state capital.
"I look to see if my daughter's lips are blue," said an emotional Lisa Smith, who brought her 14-year-old daughter to Richmond in 2015.
They were part of a group of families fighting for laws to allow people suffering from epilepsy to be treated with medical marijuana. Beth Collins moved with her daughter Jennifer to Colorado for a year so that she could legally use cannabidiol, an extract of the plant, which nearly eliminated Jennifer's 300 daily seizures.
"We chose to come back to the state we love and the people we love and put our faith in our lawmakers," said Collins during that 2015 hearing.
They were successful. Virginia lawmakers voted to allow cannabidiol, but restricted it to patients with intractable epilepsy. But Beth Collins and Lisa Smith kept on fighting for other families.
Now, the moms are in Richmond celebrating another victory.
"It feels good to know that millions of patients can potentially benefit from this. It's just great," said Collins.
The unanimous votes in both the House and Senate will allow doctors to prescribe cannabidiol for anyone who needs it.
"For pain, for MS, for whatever. If the doctor feels that their patients could benefit from it, they can use it," explained Collins.
She said the states with medical cannabidiol programs have seen a 25 percent decrease in opioid overdose deaths.
"The potential to help mitigate the opioid crisis here in Virginia is huge with these oils. Hopefully pain patients will be able to cut back on their opioids or to get off of opioids altogether," said Collins.