RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin recently signed a law changing how people can access medical cannabis in the Commonwealth.

The law takes effect on Friday, July 1. Judy Jenks — a nurse practitioner in the New River Valley and owner of — joined “WFXR News at Noon” to talk about the law.

The legislation removes the requirement to register with the State Board of Pharmacy before being cleared to purchase medical cannabis products from authorized dispensaries.

“This eliminates the need to pay the $50 processing fee as well. If you think about it, we prescribe a lot more dangerous medications than cannabis. And people are dying by the hundreds of thousands by opioids. But they don’t need to register with the board of pharmacy, or pay $50 or carry a card saying they’re okay to take opioids. Gov. Youngkin was very progressive in signing this bill,” said Jenks.

This bill also gets rid of the mandatory 60-day waiting period. Jenks says many of her patients were waiting much longer, some 90 to 100 days to get their cannabis card, something she says is a long time for those who are in pain, undergoing cancer treatment, or facing an end-of-life illness.

“The process was clunky. It was hard for patients and providers to navigate the system,” said Jenks.

Jenks told WFXR News that beginning in July, all patients will need to access medical cannabis is a certification document from a healthcare provider who is licensed by the board of pharmacy to evaluate for medical cannabis use.

While adults 21 and older can now grow up to four marijuana plants in Virginia, Jenks says the quality can differ greatly from what medical cannabis dispensaries offer.

“Growing your own and buying it illegally can be a bit of a gamble. It’s not as easy to grow as you might think. It’s not like growing tomato plants. Obtaining the seeds can be hard. You don’t know the strain you’re getting… and is it the strain you need for your health condition?”

Judy Jenks, Nurse Practitioner

Jenks adds dispensaries grow their own cannabis and make their own products. They’re inspected by the state and not allowed to use pesticides. You also get a packaged product with listed ingredients like you would find in over-the-counter medication.

Jenks runs the first medical cannabis clinic formed in southwest Virginia, and the second ran by a nurse practitioner in the state.

You can find more about her business here.