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by Karen Goff February 24, 2015 at 9:00 am 13 Comments

Virginia State Capitol, RichmondA bill sponsored by Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston) that would make cannabis oil legal for patients suffering from illnesses that could be helped by it was left in committee in Virginia’s General Assembly session earlier this month.

However, a similar bill sponsored by Del. Dave Albo (R-Springfield) passed both the house and the senate and will become a law. Albo’s law allows epilepsy to be added to cancer and glaucoma as medical conditions that can be helped by the oil derived from marijuana.

Left in committee is a common outcome for Plum, who has been representing Reston for more than 30 years — the longest of any Virginia House member.

He says each year when he goes to Richmond, he knows is in for a fight as his liberal-leaning perspective is in the minority in the Virginia House, which is dominated by Republicans (67 Republicans, 32 Democrats, 1 Independent this session).

“I am not here for a batting average, I am here to do what’s right,” says Plum. “My role as a senior legislator in the minority party is to see to it that the majority party does not get to ignore the big issues — Medicaid expansion, nonpartisan redistricting, and gun safety as examples.”

Even if he proposes — and loses — big reform, it gets people thinking, says Plum.

“These are game-changers for Virginia,” he says. “It takes a while to get these ideas in place. Over time, we will prevail. Probably more than 90 percent of legislation has little impact. It corrects the Code, deals with courthouse or business affairs with little no no impact on the average person, or are local matters. There’s more than enough legislators to introduce these bills.” (more…)

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