Marijuana for recreation use. There definitely will be bills in the West Virginia Legislature this year to make it legal.
“The majority of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Delegates supports legalizing cannabis for adult use in West Virginia,” said Del, Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
Already, there is opposition.
“That’s not on the agenda, by any means. Recreational marijuana is just not at all,” said State Senate Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson – Senate President.
The issue was debated before reporters at the annual Legislative Lookahead sponsored by the West Virginia Press Association and AARP. One doctor on the panel has concerns about both medicinal and recreational cannabis.
“We don’t have enough evidence to say this is safe, nor should it be used for particular conditions. There’s a lot of research that still needs to be done. And I’m in favor of doing much more research,” said Dr. James Berry, WVU Medicine.
While medical marijuana is legal in West Virginia as of July first, banks doing business with the state do not want to handle the money because of legal concerns. One proposal is for the state to sell cards that can be used use to buy medical pot, in a system much like retailers use.
“You buy a card at Lowe’s and you can only use it at Lowe’s. You can’t use it at Home Depot, you can’t use it at Krogers. But that’s the theory of a closed loop system. So there’s a lot of internal controls with it,” said Diana Stout, General Counsel, WV Treasurer’s Office.
“I think there’s a willingness to fix a bill we already passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
Until that happens, medical marijuana sales will be blocked.
While most Democrats in the House of Delegates now favor legalizing recreational marijuana, Republicans still have a strong majority in both the House and the Senate, so this may be an uphill fight.