Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 26, 2014

In West Virginia debate on medicinal use begins

GREEN VALLEY — A proposal to allow the legal cultivation of medicinal marijuana in West Virginia received mixed reviews Friday when area residents voiced their opinions.

House Bill 2230, now before the West Virginia Legislature, would allow the cultivation and use of medicinal marijuana. Introduced by Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, the bill has some support from fellow legislators. Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, said a close relative could have benefited from access to medicinal marijuana.

“That’s a personal issue for me,” Moore said. “My oldest sister died of lupus. I know she was in constant pain, and the research I’ve been able to do says it would sort of soothed their pain, ease her pain, and allow her to function on a daily basis. She couldn’t do the normal, simple things everybody else does if she had an episode. If she had an episode, she was rendered immobile.”

Moore stressed that he was opposed to allowing the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

“I am definitely against the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. I would support the medical use,” he said.

The bill would allow the regulated cultivation of marijuana. Plants could be grown in an “enclosed, locked facility” such as a greenhouse or building that is “equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by the cardholder allowed to cultivate the plants or agents of a registered compassion center,” according to the bill’s text.

According to the bill, a “qualified patient” who has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition could use medicinal marijuana. A patient can possess only six ounces of usable marijuana, 12 mature marijuana plants and 12 seedlings if the patient doesn’t have a designated caregiver allowed under state law to cultivate marijuana.

Some people visiting the Mercer Mall on Friday had reservations about allowing marijuana to be grown legally in the state.

“I basically don’t like it,” a 15-year-old Princeton girl said. “I know a lot of people who had done it out in California and died from overuse of it.”

“Don’t put my name down, but I’m all for it,” said one local man who worked for the state. State residents already have access to pain medication that is fueling a statewide drug problem. “They’ll pass out 200 oxycodone to an 18 year old. It’s absurd.”

One couple walking through the mall did not like the idea of cultivating marijuana in the state.

“I don’t like it at all,” said Larry Lewis, 44, of Bluefield.

“It’s a gateway for kids to get into other drugs,” added Tonya Harman, 36, of Bluefield.

“It leads kids into other drugs,” Lewis stated.

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