The West Virginia House has considered medical marijuana bills in recent years, but such bills had not been introduced in the Senate. Yesterday, that situation changed in a big way, as a bipartisan group of three Senate leaders introduced a bill that would make medical marijuana legal for seriously ill West Virginians. An identical bill, HB 2909, was introduced today in the House.
SB 546, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley), Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Kessler (D-Glen Dale), and Senate Majority Whip Daniel Hall (R-Oceana), has been introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources. The bill would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to 12 mature plants and possess up to six ounces. It would also allow for the creation of state-regulated dispensaries that would serve the needs of patients.
HB 2909, which mirrors SB 546, is sponsored in the House by Delegate Stephen Skinner (D-Shepherdstown) and a bipartisan group of 10 co-sponsors.
House lawmakers scrapped a bill Wednesday aimed at making North Dakota the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, saying it was premature and carried too many risks that outweighed the potential benefits.
House Bill 1430 failed 26-67, with one member absent.
The bipartisan bill would have allowed patients and caregivers to possess a certain amount of cannabis or products such as cannabis oils, beverages, vapors and pills, for medical use.
Rep. Robin Weisz, a member of the House Human Services Committee that recommended 8-3 against passing the amended bill, commended the parents who gave emotional testimony about how they hoped medical cannabis would relieve the pain and seizures of their children suffering from debilitating and terminal conditions.
Last December, the New York Department of Health released more than a hundred pages of regulations related to the medical marijuana program. Over the past month, advocates for the Compassionate Care Act have voiced major concerns that the regulations are far too restrictive and would leave many patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions without safe, legal access to their medicine. The state is accepting public comments until February 13.
Our allies at Compassionate Care New York, who led the grassroots effort to pass the medical marijuana law, have submitted several pages of comments outlining their concerns. You can read them by clicking on “CCNY Concerns with Draft MMJ Regulations” here. Their major concerns include:
— A lack of access or accommodation for low-income patients;
— Too few dispensaries and a ban on delivery services;
— A prohibition on whole-plant medicine and a ban on edibles, topicals, and other medical preparations; and
— No clear process for adding more qualifying conditions, even with scientific and medical support.
As marijuana policy reforms advance nationwide, Mississippi Sen. Deborah Dawkins has vowed to keep fighting for medical marijuana legislation. Last week, Sen. Dawkins introduced SB 2318, a bill that would allow seriously ill patients to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana. Although SB 2318 would not allow for dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to patients, it would be an important step in ensuring that patients have safe and reliable access to the medicine they need.
Last week, a bipartisan group of North Dakota state representatives introduced compassionate legislation that would establish a workable medical marijuana program in North Dakota. Under HB 1430, seriously ill patients would be able to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana. It would also create a system of registered medical marijuana providers to ensure patients have safe and reliable access.
Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have compassionate laws on the books that protect individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, ALS, and other serious medical conditions from arrest and prosecution for using marijuana medicinally under their doctors’ recommendations. Why should the seriously ill in North Dakota not be afforded the same protections? We trust our physicians to prescribe highly addictive and potentially lethal drugs to treat many of these same conditions, so why should they be prevented from recommending marijuana, which has never caused a lethal overdose, if they think it would work best? It’s clear now more than ever: North Dakota should enact a workable medical marijuana program.