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Cannabis news worldwide -- UPDATE: Medical Marijuana Laws to Stay Same


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UPDATE: Medical Marijuana Laws to Stay Same

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)- - UPDATE 3/11/18 9:00am

West Virginia's House of Delegates could not get HB 4345 passed before midnight, so the changes to medical marijuana will not go into effect this year. The Senate had added new language to the bill Saturday evening, and delegates could not agree.

A spokesman for the House Speaker's office says the program will remain in place under existing law. However, some delegates are concerned about funding for the program after HB 4345 failed to pass.


West Virginia's 2017 legislative session was dominated by arguments over medical marijuana, but in 2018 news changes could be coming to the program. Last year lawmakers passed medicinal cannabis legislation, this year on the final day of the session, the industry could be expanding.

A vote to open access to medical marijuana across the state.

"I believe we owe it to the people who support this, and more importantly to the people who suffer from those conditions listed on the bill- people who are going through chemotherapy for cancer, MS, ALS. We owe it to them to make it work," Delegate Mike Pushkin told 13 News.

Delegate Pushkin says the bill makes sure people in rural counties can actually get to a dispensary by increasing the limit to 50 dispensaries and maxing out growers and processors at 20 each.

"I think it's important for us to open our eyes to see we can help so many people," Senator Richard Ojeda said on the senate floor.

But some lawmakers feel any increase in medical cannabis access could harm the youth of West Virginia.

"Other states has had an increase in the teen usage of marijuana. What we're doing here is we're taking the mystery and fear away from a schedule 1 drug," Senator Mike Azinger explained.

Some conservative senators were also concerned about a part of the bill to allow a smokable "dry leaf" or plant version of medical cannabis.

"There's been the addition of language at different points throughout the process about dry leaf products.. I think that's those are the main points of contention at this point," Senator Ryan Ferns said in a press conference.

So the senate settled on a DHHR study as to whether smoking medical pot would have significant benefits.

In the meantime cannabis supporters say while it's not perfect, they hope the law will bring relief to the state's opioid epidemic.

"It would allow someone who suffers from chronic pain to have that as a treatment option before we get them hooked on opioids," Delegate Pushkin added.

There could be legal and logistical challenged to medical marijuana in West Virginia. We will keep you updated.

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