Marijuana Reform Comes to the Mountain State

Dec 14, 2012 , ,

I’ve been organizing and advocating for marijuana policy reform in New Hampshire since 2007, and some of the successes have been very gratifying. After two near-victories on the medical marijuana issue (the governor vetoed bills in both 2009 and 2012), it now appears very likely that New Hampshire will pass an effective medical marijuana law in 2013.

However, I have often wished I could do something to help seriously ill patients in my home state of West Virginia. Sadly, medical marijuana legislation hasn’t been seriously considered in the Mountain State, despite the best efforts of Delegate Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor), who introduced bills in both 2011 and 2012.

The situation in West Virginia changed dramatically for the better this week, as Delegate Manypenny hosted a successful public forum Tuesday in the House of Delegates chamber. The forum was called “Should West Virginia Reform its Marijuana Laws?” and generated positive media coverage, including this article in the Charleston Gazette.

Featured speakers included an emergency room physician, the president-elect of the West Virginia Nurses’ Association, and a retired police lieutenant and FBI unit chief. This impressive line-up laid to rest once and for all the notion that marijuana policy reform supporters are merely self-interested marijuana users rather than conscientious, civic-minded advocates interested in improving public policy.

I was truly honored to be included in this forum and given the opportunity to speak about marijuana policy in the House chamber — a chamber I had last visited in the 1980’s as a student in the Wood County school system.

With strong, credible advocates like these supporting medical marijuana in West Virginia, patients in the Mountain State finally have reason to be optimistic about the future.

In New Hampshire, I’ve often argued that decision-makers should consider the state’s motto — Live Free or Die — when considering whether patients should be free to follow their doctors’ advice without fear of arrest. West Virginia’s state motto — Montani Semper Liberi (Mountaineers Are Always Free) — seems equally relevant to this issue.

May both states live up to their mottos by passing effective medical marijuana laws, and may they do so soon!

7 responses to “Marijuana Reform Comes to the Mountain State”

  1. I was able to attend the forum in Charleston, it was very well representative of the medical aspects for legalization. Thank You Mpp for being there. The legislative process has been a long time in developing, hopefully the citizens of West Virginia will take a stand for their rights to free medicine.

  2. Good job MPP,We need a strong voice in WV.You guys got my donation.I watched a close family member with cancer eat brittle made with marijuana butter,& use a vaporizer.She called it her energy.She was happy untill her dying day.If she woud’ve been pumped full of morphine,she woud’ve been out of it for weeks before she went.

  3. In 2009, my mom suffering from stage 4 lung cancer, passed away. I had to take care of her 24/7 for over 9 months. The cancer had moved to her bones you see and she became fragile. The least little thing would break her bones. She went thru radiation and was not strong enough for chemo, but the medications she was on made her so ill, it was hard for her to eat or do anything. A nrighbor of hers seen how bad she was suffering and after days of begging her to try just one hit of a marijuana cigarette, she finally gave in and was able to hold down some food that day. but the guilt she felt over it being illegal and the fear of going against the law prevented her from trying again. It was the one and only time the last month she was alive that she was able to eat. after that she deteriorated quickly and suffered greatly even on liquid morphine she still felt pain. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do was to watch my mother suffer. I believe in my heart that if she would have had the medicinal marijuana she wouldn’t have suffered as much as she did, period.

  4. I suffer from more than one chronic pain issue and can not get a Dr to help. I get releif from certain strains of marijuana and I have even had more than one Dr tell me yes it works. Living in the state of WV I was told that The Dr would not provide me with the meds that I need and have refused to see me or told me that they will no longer treat my pain issues because I tested positive for THC. Some one please help me. I am at the end of my rope here.

  5. With its emphasis on an ethic of civic virtue and a spirit of service in aid of others, this post was pitch-perfect.

    Matt Simon, I want to put this little blog essay in a bottle and sneak it into the jacket pocket of every cannabis reform advocate trying to make a small improvement in our world.

    Thank you.

  6. I am a spouse of a Bi-polar person and I completely agree with medical marijuana.I have sat and watched the everyday struggles that my husband endures. After visiting a friend who was prescribed medical marijuana I seen that those struggles can be lessened or removed with just a puff or two. I understand that it is abused by some people but there are people that it would truly help.

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