Medical marijuana would be legal under a bill approved today by West Virginia’s full Senate.
Substitute Senate Bill 386 was passed through its third and final reading today with a 28 to 6 vote, sending it to the House of Representatives. Passage in the House would send it to Governor Jim Justice for consideration.
The proposed legislation would legalize medical marijuana possession and use for those with a qualifying condition who receive a doctor recommendation. The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission would be created to oversee a regulated and licensed system of cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries. Dispensaries would be authorized to distribute cannabis and cannabis products to qualifying patients.
The measure would allow up to 60 dispensaries to operate throughout the state. The commission overseeing these dispensaries would consist of 17 members, including members of law enforcement, attorneys and medical professionals. According to the bill, the purpose of the commission is to “develop policies, procedures, guidelines, and regulations to implement programs to make medical cannabis available to qualifying patients in a safe and effective manner.”
For the purposes of the proposed law, a dispensary is described as “an entity licensed under this article that acquires, possesses, processes, transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers cannabis, products containing cannabis, related supplies, related products containing cannabis including food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments, or educational materials for use by a qualifying patient or caregiver.”
Qualifying medical marijuana conditions under Senate Bill 386 include
(A) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care; or
(B) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces:
(i) Cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome;
(ii) Severe or chronic pain that does not find effective relief through standard pain medication;
(iii) Severe nausea;
(v) Severe or persistent muscle spasms;
(vi) Refractory generalized anxiety disorder; or
(vii) Post traumatic stress disorder
The commission “may approve applications that include any other condition that is severe and for which other medical treatments have been ineffective if the symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by the medical use of cannabis”, and “may not limit treatment of a particular medical condition to one class of physicians”.
The law would allow minors to become legal medical marijuana patients, though they would need an adult caregiver if they wanted to purchase cannabis or cannabis products from a dispensary.
You can click here for the full text of Senate Bill 386.
[Side Note: West Virginia’s Senate also passed a resolution today calling on the federal government to reschedule marijuana.]