Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 29, 2013

No foes speak at W.Va. House hearing on medical marijuana

Chairman encourages passion, doubts consideration this session

CHARLESTON — An ex-Marine who lost a brother to prescribed painkillers, a doctor and a nursing leader appealed to a House committee Thursday to legalize marijuana for therapeutic uses.

Eighteen people signed up for a special hearing by the Health and Human Resources Committee — a significant step in Delegate Mike Manypenny’s, D-Taylor, three-year crusade to legalize cannabis to lessen pain.

No one spoke against HB2961, and the first-ever hearing on the bill, while encouraging to supporters, doesn’t mean Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, plans to run it with only two weeks left in this session.

Even so, Perdue suggested the hearing couldn’t be dismissed lightly.

“Not long ago, primary seatbelts was a nowhere issue,” Perdue said, just hours after the House agreed to make failure to buckle up a primary traffic offense.

“Don’t lose your passion,” he advised supporters.

However, the health chairman indicated the bill, while not likely to come for a vote in the final two weeks, would be the topic of an interims study.

“It is not a dangerous drug,” insisted Dr. Paul Clancy, an emergency physician in West Virginia since 1995.

“I feel it can divert a lot of illegal drug abuse from criminal arenas.”

In his work, Clancy said he often sees “a lot of substance abuse at work of all flavors — alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, illegal drugs. What we don’t see a lot of is marijuana problems.”

Clancy pointed out that medical marijuana can take other forms besides burning the weed to inhale the smoke.

“It is not necessary to smoke joints to get medical benefits from cannabis,” he said.

Terry Lively, a 57-year-old diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly two decades ago, recalled how she became paralyzed on one side and suffered double vision. It took four months to recover, and the medications prescribed left her drowsy and nauseated.

A doctor recommended medical marijuana and it helped, she told the health committee.

“Life became better,” Lively said, noting she returned to school and earned a master’s degree.

Chris Yeager, who spent eight years in the Marine Corps, said West Virginia leads the nation in prescription pill overdoses, and one victim three years ago was a brother.

“My brother was not an addict,” he explained, pointing out he was prescribed various medicines to combat depression and anxiety.

More than 20 mental hygiene warrants were undertaken by the family, but each time he was assessed by doctors, once he came off the opiates, they merely decided he wasn’t a risk to himself and turned him loose, Yeager said.

“For someone who fought for this country, that answer is not good enough for me,” he said.

Aila Accad, president of the West Virginia Nurses Association in Charleston, said her group and the American Nurses Association both endorse the medical use of marijuana and have, in fact, held this position about a decade.

In fact, she said, “there is a growing body of evidence that marijuana has a significant margin of safety” when used under proper supervision to treat a host of disorders — from wasting syndrome to AIDS to cancer.

A Paden City resident, Joel Davis, told lawmakers he was born with congenital scoliosis and Klippel-Feil syndrome that causes spinal curvature.

Seeking to relieve pain, he said, doctors prescribed various strengths of Oxycontin and Percocet, along with anti-depressants, but the discomfort haunts him daily.

“Even just sitting causes me pain,” said Davis, who used crutches to get to the speaker’s podium.

Not long ago, Davis said, he visited a state where medical marijuana is legal, adding, “It was amazing how well it helped with my pain.”

“Oxycodone is a dangerous drug, but until patients are able to use cannabis,” he said, “I will have to take the risks of being on it. It’s time to allow patients who can benefit from medical marijuana to get the help they need. So many people, not just patients, will benefit from this bill passing because the amount of oxycodone on the street will be much lower.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • U.S. shipping coal overseas

    July 28, 2014 1 Story

  • Firefighters worked scenario nearly identical to tunnel incident

    David Thompson Sr., chief of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department said on Sunday that regional emergency responders had met in Wytheville, Va., in June to discuss a emergency response that was similar to the real life emergency that occurred Friday afternoon in the northbound lanes of the East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 28, 2014

  • Elite eight... Eight inducted into Tazewell High School Hall of Fame

    The Elite Eight were honored by the Tazewell High School Hall of Fame Saturday.
    Eight honorees — Glen Riddle, Charles Grindstaff, Whitney Davis, Carol Green Robertson, James “Robbie” Colley, Ralph “Moon” Mullins, James Farley and Don Necessary, Sr. — were inducted Saturday at THS in the seventh annual presentation coordinated by chairman Lawrence (Debo) Johnson. They join 50 previous honorees in the select group of former graduates, supporters and friends of THS as chosen by the HOF committee.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Jays Sunday Danville nips Bluefield in 12 innings

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice scenario nearly identical to real-life tunnel fire

    July 27, 2014

  • Crash... Two transported from Route 460 wreck

    Two people were transported to a Mercer County hospital following a two-vehicle wreck Sunday afternoon on U.S. Route 460 at the intersection with Willowbrook Road.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • PRINCETON POLICE DEPARTMENT July 17-23

    July 27, 2014

  • Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27 Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27

    The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking the following individuals. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of these individuals can call the sheriff’s office at 276-988-1167 or the Tazewell County 911 Center at  276-988-0902.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_4822.jpg All tunnel lanes open

    Traffic on Interstate 77 was still backed up about 14 miles in Bland County, Va., Saturday evening, but the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at about 6 p.m. that both northbound lanes of I-77 through East River Mountain were open to traffic.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 2 Slideshows

  • First on scene... Firefighters’ story: Working together put the fire out

    Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

National and World
Newspaper Deivery Routes Available
Sister Newspapers' News
Facebook
Local News Videos