West Virginia legalizes medical marijuana

Toa55 via Getty

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

The law doesn't authorize the sale of cannabis for smoking and patients can't grow their own plants.

As a doctor, Gupta said the question of whether medical marijuana will be beneficial for patients can not be definitively answered now.

West Virginia is the third Republican-controlled state legislature in a row to pass a medical marijuana bill.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (D) signs Senate Bill 386, the Medical Cannabis Act, on April 19, 2017. NY state lawmakers voted to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2014 and the law took effect in January 2016.

More Americans Than Ever Support Marijuana Legalization
This sentiment has increased each year we've measured it since 2013, with the turning point to majority support coming in 2014. Experts predict the market could hit $21bn in sales by 2020 - bringing in millions in taxes for state governments, too.

When the law is in place, qualifying medical marijuana users would have to apply for patient ID cards from the Bureau for Public Health.

"West Virginians are compassionate people and this law will help our neighbors who are struggling with illness", said Governor Justice. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs.

Additionally, a patient may not operate or be in physical control while under the influence with a blood content of more than three nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabis per milliliter of blood serum of: chemicals which require a federal or state permit; high-voltage electricity or any other public utility; or any vehicle, aircraft, train, boat or heavy machinery. 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".

This year, advocates have their eyes on Rhode Island, where pot advocates in the legislature are trying to race MA, whose voters legalized marijuana by in November, to the market.

A provision that expires with the federal short-term spending plan on April. 28 prohibits Justice Department interference in state-level medical cannabis programs. Medical use was approved by ballot initiative in 14 of those states, beginning with California in 1996. Eight of the 29 medical marijuana states also allow recreational use.

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