New VA cannabis law creates legal challenge

A new Virginia marijuana law has created a legal challenge.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WUSA9) -- Virginia's new cannabis oil law that allows people with epilepsy to use the drug, comes with a major flaw. There is no legal way to get marijuana oil in Virginia, no matter who you are or what you're suffering from

The new law Va. Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed that allows for the use of marijuana oil for people suffering from epilepsy, comes with a catch.

"We had to keep making it more narrow, and ended up with, this is the best we could do,' said Beth Collins who moved with her teenage daughter Jennifer to Colorado last year so that Jennifer could be treated with cannabis oil.

It reduced her seizures, and took away the psychotic side effects caused by legal drugs. But now that they're back in Virginia, even with this new law, it won't be easy or legal getting the drug. She says the new law does not really make things easier.

"It gives us a level comfort that we won't go to jail. But, it doesn't protect us in terms of obtaining the oils. We still have to break laws to do that. There's no other way but to break laws," said Collins.

The reason they won't be able to get a doctor to prescribe the drug is because marijuana is listed by the DEA as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin, heroin, LSD and ectasy; those drugs are classified as having no medicinal value and a high rate of abuse.

Until it's rescheduled, most researchers won't touch it, says Collins. She says it's another catch. Lawmakers want studies, but because it's a Schedule I, that won't happen.

Collins helps lead writing campaigns for the Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis. To Reschedule marijuana takes action from Congress, an executive order from the president, or possibly an order from the Attorney General.

"There's got to be a tipping point. The majority of Americans want this. They want this as medicine. And it's time for the government to listen to the people they serve," said Collins.

Beth and the other parents are grateful for the new law in Virginia, but they see it a first, very step, with obstacles.

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