West Virginia Senate approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 30, 2017.

The West Virginia Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would permit marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes in the state. The lawmakers voted 28-6 to pass the Senate Bill 386, also known as the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act.

The Senate Bill 386, sponsored by Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, will advance to the House of Delegates for consideration.

According to the measure, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission will be created to establish and oversee a state medical marijuana program. The Cannabis Commission will consist of sixteen members including medical professionals, law enforcement officials, and government agency representatives.

The Commission will be responsible for setting the requirements to phase medical marijuana into the state, including certification and applications for physicians to become eligible to prescribe medical marijuana. It would also establish standards, licensing processes, and databases for medical marijuana dispensaries, physicians and cultivators.

"We applaud the Senate for standing up for seriously ill West Virginians and giving them hopes with this much-needed legislation,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project in a statement. “For many patients, medical marijuana is a far safer alternative to opioids and other prescription drugs. Any delegates who are serious about addressing the opiate crisis in West Virginia need to consider the substantial benefits this law could have on that front. We hope Speaker Armstead will review the facts and give this bill a fair shake in the House.”

If the Bill becomes law, residents with certain medical conditions could be prescribed marijuana treatment. Those conditions include anorexia or wasting syndrome; a chronic disease or condition that produces cachexia; end-of-life or hospice care; severe or chronic pain that isn't relieved through standard pain medication; severe nausea; seizures; severe or persistent muscle spasms; refractory generalized anxiety disorder; and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the U.S., as many as twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have already enacted effective medical marijuana legislation.

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