West Virginia elects governor who has pledged support for medical marijuana

 

Last update: November 10, 2016

 

The West Virginia Legislature has failed to act on medical marijuana bills in recent years, but the obstructions clearly haven’t come from leaders of the state Senate. In February 2016, an effective medical marijuana bill, SB 640, was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall), with Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) and three other senators as co-sponsors. This sensible, compassionate bill would have provided relief to patients with a variety of serious, debilitating conditions, but the legislature adjourned in March without taking action on the proposal.

The prospects for 2017 appear to be much more promising. At the first debate between the two major party candidates for governor, Democrat Jim Justice and Republican Bill Cole, both clearly indicated that they support medical marijuana. Justice, who went on to win the election in November, went further, suggesting that legalization for adult use should be considered in the future.


Think tank reports that legalization would boost West Virginia’s economy, provide safer alternative to opioids

 

In August, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy published an in-depth report examining the potential economic and budgetary impacts of legalizing marijuana in the state. They concluded that West Virginia could raise approximately $45 million in taxes and save $17 million currently spent on enforcement. The report also noted that “marijuana may potentially have a positive impact on West Virginia’s opioid-based painkiller and heroin epidemic by offering another, less-addictive alternative to individuals who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions.”

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 protected] 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.


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