The biggest criticism is that the governor vetoed a so-called “vertical integration bill” for the state’s medical cannabis program. It would allow businesses to be growers, processors, and dispensaries for medical marijuana products. Critics say unless companies can do all three tasks they won’t invest in West Virginia.
“It’s absolutely necessary that we get this legislation passed if we are going to have a program up and running here for patients in West Virginia. Our veterans deserve it. Our cancer patients deserve it. They’ve been waiting far too long,” said Del. Shawn Fluharty, (D) Ohio.
On the other hand, the governor is being praised for a bill that would greatly expand broadband services in West Virginia, providing far better internet access. Backers say it will help education and economic development.
“The currency of the 21st Century is internet connectivity. And we must and shall and will become a connected, wired, fast state,” said State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, ( R) Jackson – Senate President.
The Governor also signed a bill that will allow greater political campaign contributions in West Virginia elections, despite critics.
“You know I got a lot of calls from constituents saying that they don’t want more money in politics. And all this does is doubles, quadruples, even by ten times increases the campaign finance limits that can be given to people like me,” said Del. Andrew Byrd, (D) Kanawha.
The governor also vetoed two bills related to road repairs over constitutional concerns. But he and legislators promise there will be plenty of money to deal with fixing many secondary roads.
The big question now is will the upcoming Special Session deal with just education reform as was promised, or will it delve into other issues like fixing medical marijuana, and fixing roads.