Cannabis News The November Coalition
  Medical Marijuana Gaining Traction in WV
Posted by CN Staff on September 23, 2013 at 05:05:26 PT
By Dave Boucher, Daily Mail Capitol Reporter 
Source: Charleston Daily Mail 

medical Charleston, W.Va. -- Most West Virginia lawmakers understand there could be medical benefits to marijuana, but they question the best way for the state to legally regulate the usage and sale of the drug.

That's the vibe Matt Simon, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, said he receives more and more in talks with legislators on the controversial subject.

"I don't have a head count, but that's the impression that we get," Simon said. "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."

Simon, a Parkersburg native with a master's degree from West Virginia University, returns home this week to present information on marijuana regulations to a legislative interim committee.

On Wednesday, Karmen Hanson, health program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, will discuss with Simon how other states have approached legalizing medical marijuana before the Joint Committee on Health.

Right now medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, but "legal" means something different in each. In New Jersey, for example, medical marijuana was legalized in January of 2010, but a heap of regulations has kept any dispensaries from providing patients with the drug, Simon said.

On the other end of the spectrum, dispensaries in California aren't regulated by the state at all, he said.

Simon believes there's a happy medium and he thinks finding it in West Virginia is certainly possible.

"I strongly believe West Virginia should pass a law like this, and should regulate it in such a way that prevents major problems from happening, but so patients have safe, legal access," Simon said.

Last legislative session the House of Delegates passed a resolution calling for a study of "the feasibility and necessity of medical marijuana." Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne and chairman of the House Health Committee, sponsored the resolution.

"The whole idea is to gather enough information to make an informed choice," Perdue said. "We haven't really done that over the last several years."

Proponents believe it can bring additional tax dollars to the state while providing comfort to patients with pain. Opponents say it's legalizing a harmful drug that will only exacerbate problems with addiction and other issues.

In the past, Perdue said the evidence was anecdotal. Simon made a presentation earlier in the year purporting the medical benefits, and Perdue thinks his presentation this week could further help lawmakers decide where they stand.

There's no question the idea is divisive and potentially politically dangerous. For the last three years, bills calling for the legalization of medical marijuana haven't made it anywhere close to passage.

The recent legalizations in the state of Washington and Colorado, along with the information about regulations from those states, excited more interest with West Virginia lawmakers, Perdue said.

Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, agrees. For two years he was the only sponsor of bills calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. It was tough to make any headway with fellow lawmakers in trying to garner more support, Manypenny said.

"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."

He thinks Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a prominent physician who works for CNN, recently changing his mind and publicly supporting the legalization of medical marijuana is also making a difference.

Along with Perdue, 10 delegates co-sponsored the resolution for studying medical marijuana.

Nine are Democrats: Dave Perry of Fayette County, Jeff Eldridge of Lincoln County, Phil Diserio of Brooke County, Ryan Ferns of Ohio County, Barbara Fleischauer of Monongalia County, Charlene Marshall of Monongalia County, Clif Moore of McDowell County, Meshea Poore of Kanawha County and Margaret Staggers of Raleigh County.

Delegate Amanda Pasdon of Monongalia County was the only Republican to sponsor the resolution.

Passing anything can be a little more difficult during an election year. Perdue's still not sure he supports such a bill, and he didn't want to guess how many lawmakers favor the measure. He and Manypenny said they aren't sure if a medical marijuana bill can pass in 2014.

The bill isn't as politically charged as some may think though, they said. Perdue wasn't sure anyone would base a vote entirely on whether someone supports medical marijuana legalization. Manypenny, who plans to introduce the bill again this session, said it hasn't kept him from winning re-election.

Other lawmakers have seen him survive a close election after introducing the bill for two years, a big reason why he thinks more people came out to support the resolution.

"I think if we approach this properly, and create some tight regulations, it will give a lot of people a little more comfort knowing they're not going to be legalizing something that's going to bring down the wrath of the federal government on patients, doctors, and dispensaries," Manypenny said.

The joint health committee meets at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the House Government Organizations committee room at the Capitol.

Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
Author: Dave Boucher, Daily Mail Capitol Reporter
Published: September 22, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Charleston Daily Mail
Contact: editor@dailymail.com
Website: http://www.dailymail.com/
URL: http://drugsense.org/url/nKXa49Pt

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Comment #5 posted by mexweed on September 27, 2013 at 14:04:05 PT
Harmful drug talk remedy
"Opponents say it's legalizing a harmful drug that will only exacerbate problems with addiction and other issues."

Hit hard on this issue: cannabis can REPLACE binge-drinking among populations vulnerable to addiction to alcohol and nicotine. (Do the research and publish any dirt you can find about ways the alcohol and tobacco industries bribe legislators to oppose cannabis.)

"Drug" is a matter of comparative dosage-- anything in overdose is a drug (or do you say, a drag). Promote VAPE toke and one-hitters! "Joint" (giant) and "rolling papers" are tools for addicting children to the H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarette format. Promote 25-mg standard toke as opposed to 500-mg joint and 700-mg $igarette.

@muse is correct about "marijuana"-- sounds like some slovenly foreign version of "American" don't it! Like you were bitten by a piranha and sent up to nirvana...



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Comment #4 posted by museman on September 27, 2013 at 13:43:13 PT
it is sooo simple;
Truth or lie. Why continue to feed the lie when the truth has plenty of power? Oh yes, because every 'government' from township to Capitol Hill is lying to the people and to itself. If they don't want to 'look down and shuffle their feet' perhaps they should start calling it by its correct name; "Cannabis" then the reefer madness myths and old wives tales will no longer cloud the issues.

"Marijuana" is a prohibition coined concept and nomenclature. Not 'scientific,' 'medical,' or actual.

Those who continue to refer to the "dangers of marijuana" are conspicuously absent at the table of the "lack of dangers of cannabis."

Prove to me that the vote is worth a shit; vote someone in who smokes it and is not afraid to stand up in the truth of it. This "I didn't inhale" and "I put it away for more mature things..." (like alcohol fer gawds sake!) crap has gone on long enough.

LEGALIZE FREEDOM

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by disvet13 on September 25, 2013 at 18:18:42 PT:

the land of rockefeller
having attended both forums open to the public, i was hopeful. having corresponded with rockefeller and manchin numerous times and read their exact same form letter responses from both of them, i am not. there down pat answer was all drugs are bad and against federal laws. so i wrote back and told them that's why we're changing the law. i'm sure rocky is working on a plan to keep complete control of kaneh bosm. grandpaw john learned of it from his institute in Israel back in the day.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 24, 2013 at 08:00:43 PT
John Tyler
I agree. West Virginia is a bad state on drug laws so this would be wonderful for them.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on September 23, 2013 at 19:59:08 PT
go west virginia
Way to go West Virginia. Keep it coming. We’re on a roll now. One state after another. Almost heaven. Here is a soundtrack courtesy of John Denver. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju3Q1UipHSA Technically the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River are in Virginia, but he is from Colorado, and it is a good song, so we will let it slid. Here is the hi-def version with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQicl2mOPpI

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