West Virginia medical marijuana bill gains support and momentum!
For the last two years, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) has introduced effective legislation that would have legalized marijuana for medical use in West Virginia. These compassionate bills would have provided relief to patients with a variety of serious, debilitating conditions, but sadly, the bills did not receive serious consideration. Fortunately for patients, the situation has changed dramatically in 2013. Del. Manypenny has submitted two bills this year, and the second, H.B. 2961, attracted nine co-sponsors! A public hearing was held March 28 in the House Health and Human Resources Committee, and 18 supporters spoke in favor of the bill. Surprisingly, no opponents showed up to speak against the bill!
As a result of this successful hearing, legislators agreed to conduct an off-season study to learn more about the issue. The Joint Committee on Health began its study September 25 by listening to presentations from MPP legislative analyst Matt Simon and other experts on marijuana policy. This committee meeting resulted in excellent media coverage, including The West Virginia Gazette, The Charleston Daily Mail, and WCHS-TV (an ABC affiliate), among others. These reports show that we are making a great deal of progress with legislators!
If you live in West Virginia, please contact your legislators and ask them to support the medical marijuana bill.
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 email@example.com 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.
ACLU study shows West Virginia’s harsh marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates
West Virginia has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation, with simple possession being punishable by up to six months in jail.
Unfortunately, new evidence suggests that West Virginia’s marijuana laws are not being evenly enforced. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in West Virginia are 3.3 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Please write to your legislators and ask them to stop arresting people for possessing marijuana, or ask them to end marijuana prohibition entirely.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in West Virginia, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service.