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WV Medical Marijuana Facing Uphill Fight

CHARLESTON, West Va. - It's a race to the finish line at the West Virginia State Capitol. With just two days left in the legislative session, advocates are trying to expand West Virginia's Medical Marijuana law.

"The nausea and the vertigo and the terrible side effects of aggressive chemotherapy. I personally don't know if I would have been able to get through it without the use of cannabis," said Rusty Williams, a cancer survivor and member of the WV Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

The law that passed last year, would allow only 30 medical cannabis dispensaries in the Mountain State. This year's bill would increase that to 100, giving patients greater access.

"It's going to allow for more dispensaries which is important especially if you live in rural areas, where it takes a long time to drive to certain places," said State Sen. Richard Ojeda, (D) Logan.

But there are concerns. Some want added protections for doctors who recommend medical marijuana, because technically it it still illegal under federal law.

"Right now the situation is they could end up in trouble with the DEA because of federal regulations that have to do with the marijuana bill," said State Sen. Charles Clements, (R) Wetzel.

The states Medical Cannabis Advisory Board could get the power to decide if edible and smokeable forms of marijuana would be made legal. But a provisions to allow people to grow plants for their own medicinal use, was taken out.

"Ah, they have removed that and they say if there was a home grow provision in it, they will kill the bill. They have a problem with allowing  patients to grow," said Rusty Williams, of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. 

"As it stands right now the medical marijuana law doesn;lt even taken effect until July 2019. Advocates say they'll be back with more proposed changes next legislative session, next year," said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.


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