CHARLESTON — West Virginia Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) introduced a bill Thursday that would allow state residents with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
The bill, House Bill 4264, would establish a state-regulated system of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to licensed patients.
The full text of the bill, which has been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources, can be viewed here.
“There is no longer any doubt that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for a number of debilitating medical conditions and symptoms,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “No one deserves to be treated like a criminal for using marijuana to treat a serious medical condition.
“Lawmakers concerned by medical marijuana should ask themselves what they would do if a loved one was suffering from a serious illness and a physician suggested that marijuana could help.”
A survey conducted in December 2013 by Public Policy Polling found 56% of West Virginia voters support changing state law to allow people with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Just 34% said they were opposed. The same survey question asked by PPP in January 2013 found 53% supportive and 40% opposed.
“A growing majority of West Virginians support this compassionate legislation, and we hope a majority of their elected representatives will join them in doing so,” Simon said. “It’s time to stop criminalizing patients for using a treatment option that can dramatically improve their quality of life.”
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow people with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors.