West Virginia Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

West Virginia will be the 29th State to legalize marijuana for medicinal use

WEST VIRGINIA: A medical marijuana bill received final approval in the West Virginia Legislature on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice. He has publicly expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and is expected to sign the bill into law, making West Virginia the 29th state to adopt an effective medical marijuana law.

SB 386, introduced by Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan), received initial approval from the Senate last week (28-6). The House substantially amended the bill before approving it on Tuesday (76-24). The Senate passed the new version on concurrence Wednesday afternoon (28-6), along with some minor amendments, and the House signed off on the final version Thursday (74-24).

“Some of the House amendments to the bill are concerning, but it still has the potential to provide relief to thousands of seriously ill WestVirginians,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “We commend the Legislature for passing this compassionate and much-needed legislation, and we encourage Gov. Justice to sign it into law.

“This will be an important and, in some cases, life-saving program,” Simon said. “It is critical that the state implement it promptly. We are committed to working with officials to make sure the program is as effective as possible and to get it up and running in a timely fashion. Many patients cannot afford to wait much longer.”

SB 386, titled the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, charges the Bureau of Public Health with regulating medical marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries. Patients with specifically listed qualifying medical conditions will be allowed to use extracts, tinctures, and other preparations of marijuana, but not marijuana in flower or leaf form. This differs from the original version of the bill and the medical marijuana programs in most other states. A summary of SB 386 is available at http://bit.ly/2nbUAq3.

“There is nearly universal support for legalizing medical marijuana in the U.S., and it spans the political spectrum,” Simon said. “This is the third state in a row to pass a medical marijuana bill through a Republican-controlled House and Senate. Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue with some other states and at the federal level.”

A February 2017 Quinnipiac University Poll found 93% of U.S. voters think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws, and 18 states have adopted medical marijuana laws that are ineffective because they are either unworkable or exceptionally restrictive. Once S.B. 386 is signed into law, only three states in the nation — Idaho, Indiana, and Kansas — will lack any form of medical marijuana law.

Read full article @ MPP

Comments

  1. Rose says

    I’m am so happy to read this, and I thank everyone who had something to do with the passing of this bill.

    I am in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which my mother died from and her father died from and her siblings are currently suffering from. There is a strong genetic link to it, despite the medical establishment not wanting to admit it, perhaps hoping to assuage anxiety in those of us who do have a strong family history?

    Already, at 59 years old, I am experiencing muscle dystonia; memory problems; speech problems; digestive problems; restless legs and arms; insomnia; REM sleep disorder; vertigo, which leads to falls; anxiety and depression; and eye problems, including dry eyes, photopsia, blepharospasms (probably brought on by eye muscle dystonia) and photophobia. I did not even realize how much of a Parkinson’s marker eye problems are, this despite having to put prescription eye drops in my mother’s eyes every night and recalling, now, the times she would scream that her eyes were hurting her, that she couldn’t see, mostly when we were in the car where light refraction, if that is the correct term, is often greatest. I would give her sun glasses to put on and tell her to close her eyes while tears streamed down her face. But I had no idea how debilitating and painful photophobia (a misnomer if ever) can be, until I began to experience it. I have actually had to pull my car over and rest my eyes a couple of times now when I was driving in peak-light hours because it is impossible to keep your eyes open during an attack of photophobia. I joke that it is like suddenly being a vampire!

    My mother also suffered from glaucoma, which Parkinson’s patients are more susceptible to as well. The optic nerve suffers greatly from the inflammation and neurodegeneration that are the hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases. Again, suffice to say, until you are experiencing the symptoms, you do not fully realize how debilitating and frightening a disease Parkinson’s is. And speaking of fright, I literally experience “frights” when I am, often, near sleep and sometimes when I find myself in an unfamiliar place. The frights that happen at the pre-sleep stage are so jolting that they often produce a state of anxiety that precludes sleep at all, and it actually feels like an electrical short-circuiting happening in the brain, like a zipping electrical current that has an auditory component.

    The major culprit of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s is amyloid plaque that destroys neuron connections in the brain, and the thc in cannabis inhibits the growth of amyloid plaque in the brain and digestive system. (It never even occurs to you, until you begin to experience symptoms, that the digestive system is one big nerve!) And the cannabidiols in cannabis act as neuroprotectants and neural connectors, much like oil in a motor reduces viscosity. Cannabis can potentially cure neurological diseases! And I think we are going to see the fruits of that theory blossom as medicinal cannabis is allowed to work its wonders.

    Neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are slow kills, chronic and progressive diseases that can take 20 years to reach end stage. My mother was diagnosed late. I remember seeing symptoms in her as early as the 1990s, but she was not officially diagnosed until 2004. Her diagnosis was based on dementia, but the body tremors followed within two years. She died in 2012. I remember reading about cannabis’ ability to inhibit the growth of amyloid plaques, and of its palliative aid as a non-toxic medicine that can help combat the anxiety, depression and aggression that neurological disease causes. In some nursing homes now, in states where cannabis is legal as medicine, elderly patients suffering from neurodegenerative disease are often given cannabis lollipops to suck on as patients suffering from these diseases hyper-salivate and respond well to suckling activities. In turn, suckling activities strengthen and relax atrophied head, neck and throat muscles, choking being one of the biggest causes of death in patients suffering from Parkinson’s. I begged doctors to prescribe my mother cannabis as opposed to the lethal, toxic and very expensive pharmaceuticals she was prescribed, and while some were incredibly narrow-minded for medical professionals, others lamented that they would prescribe it in a heartbeat if it were legal for them to do so. I was often encouraged to procure it illegally.

    Long and short of this testimony of mine, my mother was not able to partake of a drug that could have eased her suffering and potentially cured her disease. I only pray now that West Virginia will be quick in getting the program up and running, because as Mr. Simon says (no pun intended: ), time is of the essence for me. I need to start inhibiting the growth of amyloid plaque in my nervous system, yesterday. And I hope the cannabidiols in cannabis will spur connectivity between neural cells that the lack of seems to manifest in me, at this point, in an inability in attempts at recall. Again, much appreciation to all of those who had a hand in passing this bill and to the West Virginia legislature and Governor Justice for their compassion and wisdom. I am very hopeful that help is on the way. I am very hopeful that cannabis will help me beat my genetic destiny while doing so in a non-toxic, non-lethal and benign manner in my body that ineffectual pharmaceuticals do not.

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