West Virginia Turns into the 29th State to Enable Medical Marijuana Use

Wikimedia CommonsWikimedia CommonsYesterday West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a invoice that makes his state the 29th to permit medical use of marijuana. West Virginia is the sixth state to legalize medical marijuana within the final 12 months and the third (together with Ohio and Pennsylvania) to take action by the legislature. Within the different three states—Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota—voters accepted poll initiatives authorizing medical marijuana final November.

West Virginia’s new legislation acknowledges marijuana as a remedy for sufferers with terminal sicknesses or any of 14 specified situations, together with most cancers, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, a number of sclerosis, Crohn’s illness, post-traumatic stress dysfunction, and intractable ache. Sufferers whose docs advocate marijuana will be capable to receive it within the type of capsules, oils, gels, lotions, ointments, tinctures, liquids, and vaporizable extracts from state-regulated dispensaries. The dispensaries won’t promote buds for smoking or marijuana edibles, though sufferers can put together their very own at house. The legislation doesn’t enable house cultivation, and sufferers can legally possess not more than a month’s provide at a time.

“This laws goes to learn numerous West Virginia sufferers and households for years to return,” says Matt Simon of the Marijuana Coverage Challenge (MPP), a West Virginia native. “Medical marijuana will be efficient in treating a wide range of debilitating situations and signs. It’s a confirmed ache reliever, and it’s far much less poisonous and fewer addictive than a variety of prescribed drugs. Offering sufferers with a safer different to opioids may change into a godsend for this state.”

One draw back to West Virginia’s legislation is a brand new normal for driving below the affect of marijuana that erroneously equates impairment with a blood THC degree of three nanograms per milliliter. That is even decrease than the unfair and unscientific five-nanogram cutoff that Colorado and Washington adopted when they legalized marijuana for recreational use. As MPP notes, West Virginia’s DUID standard “could make it illegal for some patients to ever drive, since many patients have THC levels at this amount or greater many hours or days after last administering cannabis.”

West Virginia’s rules put it on the less liberal end of a medical marijuana spectrum that ranges from highly permissive (e.g., California) to highly restrictive (e.g., New York). Eight of the 29 medical marijuana states also allow recreational use. Medical use was approved by ballot initiative in 14 of those states, beginning with California in 1996. In the rest, as in West Virginia, medical marijuana laws originated in the state legislature.

JZSJZSAnother 18 states have approved medical marijuana laws that MPP deems “ineffective because they are either unworkable or exceptionally restrictive.” These laws allow use of specific cannabis products—typically low-THC, high-CBD extracts—and often do not provide a way to legally obtain them. But if you count those 18 states, MPP says, “only three states—Idaho, Indiana, and Kansas—have not approved any form of medical marijuana law.”

Although the federal government still does not recognize any legitimate use for marijuana, surveys find strong popular support for letting patients have access to it. A Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in February and a Marist Poll conducted last month put support for medical marijuana at 93 percent and 83 percent, respectively. In both surveys, large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats favored medical access, as does President Trump. Even his attorney general, arch-prohibitionist Jeff Sessions, concedes that “dosages can be constructed in a way that might be beneficial.”

Jacob Sullum

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