Last Update: October 6, 2014
West Virginia legislators fail to act in 2014
For the fourth year in a row, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) introduced effective legislation that would have legalized marijuana for medical use in West Virginia. HB 4264 had nine cosponsors (the maximum number allowed), but it was not given a hearing in the House Committee on Health and Human Resources. This sensible, compassionate reform would have provided relief to patients with a variety of serious, debilitating conditions, but the House failed to take action on the bill.
In 2013, legislators conducted an off-season study to learn more about the issue. The Joint Committee on Health listened to presentations from MPP legislative analyst Matt Simon and other experts on marijuana policy. This committee meeting resulted in excellent media coverage from many outlets, including The West Virginia Gazette, The Charleston Daily Mail, and WCHS-TV (an ABC affiliate).
Unfortunately, the joint committee ultimately failed to take action on the proposal, and the 2014 legislature adjourned in March. 2014 is an election year, which means all candidates for the state legislature should be asked about their positions on medical marijuana.
2014 poll shows increased support!
A poll released in January 2014 shows that statewide public support for medical marijuana increased since a similar poll was conducted last winter. The new poll — which was commissioned by MPP and conducted by Public Policy Polling — found that support for medical marijuana increased to 56% (up from 53%), and opposition dropped to 34% (down from 40%). As public opinion continues to evolve, we need to help legislators understand that supporting medical marijuana will help them rather than hurt them in their re-election efforts.
If you are supportive and are a medical professional, a seriously ill patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, a law enforcement official, a clergy member, or a member of the legal community, or you know someone else that is, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can be of special help. Please be sure to include your address or nine-digit ZIP code so we can help you identify your elected officials.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in West Virginia, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service.