West Virginia governor signs medical marijuana bill

West Virginia is the sixth state to legalize medical marijuana in the previous year and the third (along with OH and Pennsylvania) to do so through the legislature.

After some late night arm twisting, in which the annual cultivation fees were cut in half, West Virginia's medical marijuana program will now to be governed and overseen by the State Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Public Health. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) and substantially amended in the House before receiving final legislative approval on April 6.

It's not often that you hear hopeful words of progress coming from the great state of West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice was joined by legislators in his office at 3:30 p.m. today to sign Senate Bill 386, the Medical Cannabis Act. Patients with specifically listed qualifying medical conditions will be allowed to use extracts, tinctures, and other preparations of marijuana, but not marijuana in flower or leaf form.

"This is a day exemplifying the compassion that West Virginians have for their fellow man", Gov. Justice said. "Doctors are telling us this is a pathway to help those people". It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs.

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Six states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws in the past 12 months.

One downside to West Virginia's law is a new standard for driving under the influence of marijuana that erroneously equates impairment with a blood THC level of three nanograms per milliliter.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and OH approved them last April and June, respectively. 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". The law also established a process by which people who are prescribed medical marijuana would be issued a certificate, which they would use to obtain a license to get their prescription.

Effective medical marijuana laws have now been enacted in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the USA territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. Medical use was approved by ballot initiative in 14 of those states, beginning with California in 1996.

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