Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 4.1. Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control
Chapter 16. Medical Cannabis Program
5/20/2024

§ 4.1-1601. (Effective January 1, 2024) Certification for use of cannabis for treatment.

A. A practitioner in the course of his professional practice may issue a written certification for the use of cannabis products for treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use. The practitioner shall use his professional judgment to determine the manner and frequency of patient care and evaluation and may employ the use of telemedicine, provided that the use of telemedicine includes the delivery of patient care through real-time interactive audiovisual technology. No practitioner may issue a written certification while such practitioner is on the premises of a pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility. A pharmaceutical processor shall not endorse or promote any practitioner who issues certifications to patients. If a practitioner determines it is consistent with the standard of care to dispense botanical cannabis to a minor, the written certification shall specifically authorize such dispensing. If not specifically included on the initial written certification, authorization for botanical cannabis may be communicated verbally or in writing to the pharmacist at the time of dispensing. A practitioner who issues written certifications shall not directly or indirectly accept, solicit, or receive anything of value from a pharmaceutical processor, cannabis dispensing facility, or any person associated with a pharmaceutical processor, cannabis dispensing facility, or provider of paraphernalia, excluding information on products or educational materials on the benefits and risks of cannabis products.

B. The written certification shall be on a form provided by the Authority. Such written certification shall contain the name, address, and telephone number of the practitioner, the name and address of the patient issued the written certification, the date on which the written certification was made, and the signature or authentic electronic signature of the practitioner. Such written certification issued pursuant to subsection A shall expire one year after its issuance unless the practitioner provides in such written certification an earlier expiration. A written certification shall not be issued to a patient by more than one practitioner during any given time period.

C. No practitioner shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-248 or 18.2-248.1 for the issuance of a certification for the use of cannabis products for the treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of a patient's diagnosed condition or disease pursuant to a written certification issued pursuant to subsection A. Nothing in this section shall preclude a practitioner's professional licensing board from sanctioning the practitioner for failing to properly evaluate or treat a patient's medical condition or otherwise violating the applicable standard of care for evaluating or treating medical conditions.

D. A practitioner who issues a written certification to a patient pursuant to this section (i) shall hold sufficient education and training to exercise appropriate professional judgment in the certification of patients; (ii) shall not offer a discount or any other thing of value to a patient or a patient's parent, guardian, or registered agent that is contingent on or encourages the person's decision to use a particular pharmaceutical processor or cannabis product; (iii) shall not issue a certification to himself or his family members, employees, or coworkers; (iv) shall not provide product samples containing cannabis other than those approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and (v) shall not accept compensation from a pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility. The Board shall not limit the number of patients to whom a practitioner may issue a written certification. The Board may report information to the applicable licensing board on unusual patterns of certifications issued by a practitioner.

E. No patient shall be required to physically present the written certification after the initial dispensing by any pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility under each written certification, provided that the pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility maintains an electronic copy of the written certification. Pharmaceutical processors and cannabis dispensing facilities shall electronically transmit on a monthly basis all new written certifications received by the pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility to the Authority.

F. A patient, or, if such patient is a minor or a vulnerable adult as defined in § 18.2-369, such patient's parent or legal guardian, may designate an individual to act as his registered agent for the purposes of receiving cannabis products pursuant to a valid written certification. Such designated individual shall register with the Board unless the individual's name listed on the patient's written certification. An individual may, on the basis of medical need and in the discretion of the patient's registered practitioner, be listed on the patient's written certification upon the patient's request. The Board may set a limit on the number of patients for whom any individual is authorized to act as a registered agent.

G. Upon delivery of a cannabis product by a pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility to a designated caregiver facility, any employee or contractor of a designated caregiver facility who is licensed or registered by a health regulatory board and who is authorized to possess, distribute, or administer medications may accept delivery of the cannabis product on behalf of a patient or resident for subsequent delivery to the patient or resident and may assist in the administration of the cannabis product to the patient or resident as necessary.

H. Information obtained under the patient certification or agent registration process shall be confidential and shall not be subject to the disclosure provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.). However, reasonable access to registry information shall be provided to (i) the Chairmen of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, (ii) state and federal agencies or local law enforcement for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting a specific individual for a specific violation of law, (iii) licensed practitioners or pharmacists, or their agents, for the purpose of providing patient care and drug therapy management and monitoring of drugs obtained by a patient, (iv) a pharmaceutical processor or cannabis dispensing facility involved in the treatment of a patient, or (v) a patient's registered agent, but only with respect to information related to such patient.

2023, cc. 740, 760 (§ 54.1-3408.3), 773, 780 (§ 54.1-3408.3), 799 (§ 54.1-3408.3).

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.