Lawmakers are now taking a look at House Bill 2331 that would legalize and regulate marijuana use, for anyone age 21 and over.
Under this proposal, individual counties or cities could decide on a ballot referendum if they want to make it legal, rather than having one state law.
Critics say evidence from other states points to public safety concerns, but advocates say it will bring West Virginia more tax revenue.
“There is a new and growing industry in this country, and West Virginia is uniquely positioned to capitalize on it. Cannabis is the single greatest economic opportunity that West Virginia has,” said Del. Mick Bates, (D) Raleigh.
“I have stated before, that recreational I am not in favor of. Colorado, even though they’ve been one of the experimental states, has had other problems with impaired drivers and other problems that have happened with minors,” said Del. Joe Ellington, (R) Mercer – Chairman, House Health Committee.
Other critics say it’s simply not a good idea right now.
“I think it’s a bad idea. West Virginia already has a problem with drug problems, alcohol abuse, and we just don’t need to go down that road,” said Del. Larry Kump, (R) Berkeley.
The Governor, House Speaker, and Senate President are all opposed as well. So is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. But this new bill would actually let the voters in each county or city decide if they wanted legal, regulated and taxed cannabis products for sale in their community.
“That’s why we want to have this conversation. We want to find out what the people are for. We have a government you know, of the people, by the people, and for the people. So, that matters to me more than what the Governor, or the Speaker or the President wants,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
So far no votes are scheduled.
The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary, Health, and Finance Committees. But if it’s not voted out of committee, it will be difficult to bring to the floor for a vote by the entire House.