West Virginia becomes 29th state to pass medical marijuana law
Last update: December 12, 2017
On April 19, 2017, Gov. Jim Justice signed West Virginia’s medical marijuana bill into law! SB 386 passed the Senate in a 28-6 vote on March 29, and it passed the House on April 4 in a 76-24 vote. Sponsored by Sen. Richard Ojeda and 11 co-sponsors, SB 386 will allow seriously ill patients to register to use and safely access medical cannabis.
This makes West Virginia the 29th state to pass an effective medical marijuana law.
Unfortunately, the House amended the bill and made it much more restrictive before passing it, including by prohibiting marijuana in its natural, flower form. The Senate concurred with the amendments on April 5, but lawmakers expect to work to improve the program in 2018. An advisory board tasked with making policy recommendations held its first meeting in August. A summary of the new law is here.
If you live in West Virginia, please visit this page to see how your delegates voted and call their offices to thank them for voting yes or ask why they voted no.
The state legislature will consider improving the law when it convenes in early 2018. MPP looks forward to working with our allies to help make the law more workable for patients.
Think tank reports that legalization would boost West Virginia’s economy, provide safer alternative to opioids
In August 2016, 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.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in West Virginia, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.