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Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In Legislature

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Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, introduced legislation Friday to allow patients suffering from serious medical conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

Manypenny, sole sponsor of similar legislation last year, said Thursday he would have five new supporters this year.

The bill has already been referred to the House Health and Human Resources committee. Supporters want a legislative hearing on the bill. In the past two years, other legislators have denied those hearings.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, based in Denver, Colo., said Friday, "There is no reason this should not be discussed. It is an issue taken up in dozens of states. It is time for it to be discussed in West Virginia.

"This is part of a nationwide increase in momentum. We've seen medical marijuana bills introduced throughout the country, including states many people might think would not be supportive," Tvert said during a telephone interview.

A majority of West Virginia voters believe the state should enact a law allowing seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana, according to a January 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.

The survey found West Virginia voters backed medical marijuana legislation by a 13-point margin, with 53 percent in favor of it and 40 percent opposed. The other 7 percent had no opinion.

Tvert said, "What we are seeing is that a majority of Americans, whether they live in West Virginia or California, support allowing the use of marijuana by seriously ill patients.

"We are seeing a lot of discussions going on right now, even in states like Alabama and North Carolina. The real need in West Virginia is for the Legislature to hold a hearing on this bill and stop keeping seriously ill West Virginians out in the cold.

"There is no excuse for not giving this issue a proper hearing," Tvert said.

Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said, "People with diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis who might benefit from medical marijuana take this issue very seriously, and they expect their elected officials to take it very seriously, as well.

"It would be unconscionable to deny a hearing on this bill again," said Simon, who was born in West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia University.

"There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating the benefits medical marijuana can provide to people suffering from a variety of debilitating medical conditions," he said.

The Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis, or House Bill 2230, would allow patients who suffer from specific debilitating medical conditions to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The proposed law would also create five tightly regulated centers in the state to provide patients with reliable access to medical marijuana.

Those patients also would have the option of cultivating up to 12 marijuana plants in their own homes.

"A majority of West Virginia voters want to see the state take a more sensible and compassionate approach to medical marijuana," Simon said.

Today, 18 states and Washington, D.C., already allow patients with serious medical problems to use medical marijuana approved by their physicians.

Lawmakers in 12 other states have introduced similar legislation this year, and proposed legislation is expected in an additional seven states, Simon said.

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News Hawk- TruthSeekr420 420 MAGAZINE
Source: wvgazette.com
Author: Paul J. Nyden
Contact: - Contact us - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -
Website: Medical marijuana bill introduced in Legislature- - Politics - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -
 
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