Is medical marijuana coming to West Virginia?

In Top Stories by David Silverberg

Recently West Virginia’s  House of Delegates passed a resolution calling for a study of “the feasibility and necessity of medical marijuana.” Legislators in the state are increasingly in favour of legalizing medical marijuana, as a medical marijuana insider explained.

“Speaking with legislators, it seems a majority understands that if somebody has a severe case of cancer or multiple sclerosis, they should be able to use it without criminal penalties,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project.

On Sept. 24, the Joint Committee on Health is slated to hear a presentation on medical marijuana programs and related state laws, according to media reports.  The information is being presented by Karmen Hanson, health program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, and  Simon.

Former South Charleston mayor Richie Robb is quoted as saying there are people “abusing drugs that are already supposedly strictly regulated. It’s a hard one in a state where we have, I think we have an epidemic of drug abuse in West Virginia, and I think we need to crack down hard on it anyhow.”

For several years delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, was the only sponsor of bills calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. It was difficult to gain support with fellow lawmakers, Manypenny recalls.

“Every time I brought the word ‘marijuana’ up, there was a such a discomfort; (lawmakers) stared at the ground, shuffled feet,” Manypenny said.

“And now, people are starting to take it seriously. The science is there, and we need to recognize it. And we need to pass it for the treatment of the chronically ill patients in West Virginia that it could help.”

Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have already passed medical marijuana laws. Colorado and Washington State have laws passed legalizing marijuana for recreational use.