CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers are beginning to gather the facts on the possibility of legalizing medical marijuana. A legislative interim committee heard a pair of presentations Wednesday at the state capitol.

Marijuana Policy Project Legislative Analyst Matt Simon told a group of delegates and senators that 20 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized marijuana in various forms. Simon said some states allow residents to grow their own plants but in other states, like Colorado, for-profit dispensaries handle the distribution.

In some states smoking the marijuana is permitted, while in others it is eaten.

“So patients say they are able to titrate their doses much more effectively if they’re able to inhale it. But many patients do prefer the edibles, particularly if you have severe pain and you want to sleep through the night a brownie a couple of hours before dinner may help people,” Simon said.

Lawmakers asked questions about how the legalization has impacted marijuana use by teens and if impaired driving statistics increase. Simon said the research numbers are good in most cases.

Del. Margaret Staggers, D-Fayette, said the federal government has already recognized medical marijuana works but the debate comes down to how it should be delivered.

“The facts are already there, this is a good drug,” Staggers said. “Certainly people can abuse it but they abuse things like oxygen and water too.”

Simon said there have been a lot of improvements in medical marijuana laws since California took it up years ago. He said states have learned what to include and not to include. Simon supports even more states legalizing it.

“Those are some of the really tragic cases in my opinion, patients who have to move to another state just to try a plant that would work for them,” he said.

A medical marijuana bill, just like in recent years, will be introduced again in the next regular legislative session.

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  • Farron

    I know so many people who have caught a charge and had their lives torn upside down due to marijuana laws when they have been hardworking and good to their family.

    If this law was in place then more peaceful and fun and sick people would be at peace with the law and have much more respect for a much needed and peaceful herb which is natural and has been proven all throughout time to be good for our health.

  • Farron

    Medical Marijuana would be great! I know so many people that smoke and are great hard working people! It's been great to me my whole life and helped me through a lot of extremely tough situations and made me motivated to work and have fun. I've loved it since I was young and so have my friends and coworkers.

    This state could bring in a lot of extra money to make a lot of improvements and be part of a peaceful movement and show that we do have liberal and open minds to change for good. I do think that lawmakers are afraid of having to regulate and deal with a lot more than the norm and that we are considered old and old fashioned but Marijuana is a great thing for people!

  • James Johnson

    How do I get a dispensary position before legalization?

  • Sick n tired

    I have an illness and drs keep prescribing pain pills I became seriously addicted and after much effort I am off of them but doctors say that I either can deal with the pain or the addiction. I want natural remedies but it is illegal. So coming out of a lifestyle with drugs I choose to suffer but if West Virginia would legalize medical use I could live a normal life and actually enjoy watching my son grow up until The Lord takes me home. I Am Not A dope head I just want to try to enjoy as much of this life that I have left.

  • Michael hurley

    I believe pot should be legal and beer and pills should be elegal pills and beer are the bad thing we need dispose of POT is better than both of them

  • Conchop

    I strongly advocate the legalization of all forms of cannabis. Of all the prohibitions, cannabis prohibition stands as the poster child of all that is wrong in the USA.

    Consider this:

    Its the original medicine and has been found in tombs dating back 12,000 years.

    Its been used for all these years and it will continue to be used far into the future - do you really want to use billions in taxpayer money every year for this draconian prohibition? Or would you rather reopen new plants, mills, and refineries.

    Washington, Adams, and Jefferson grew tons of it and all called it a gift of Providence.

    The Constitution was written on Cannabis Hemp Paper.

    The Declaration of Independence was written on Cannabis Hemp Paper.

    This past 4th of July, a Cannabis Hemp FLAG was flown over the Capital. First time in years.

    There are thousands of uses for it.

    Recreational use is HARMLESS!

    It grows easily - it bears well.

    This prohibition goes against our National sense of self sufficiency, independence, and freedom.

    It sequesters tons of carbon.

    No matter what your politics, race, income level, religion, or creed may be, disease is disease. I would rather have access for everyone to a gift of Providence to remedy their pain and suffering. Cannabis works and it is now scientifically proven and peer reviewed. WWJD?

    This prohibition and its subsequent propaganda was established in the late 30's to make Hearst's pulpwood plantations financially viable as a new hemp thresher was perfected. Thats why our paper comes from trees. Other robber barons prospered, too. Crooks have become KINGS.

    Over the years, this prohibition has had a terrible set of consequences for our Nation and it has been this prohibition, not the cannabis, that has ruined so many lives. This makes this prohibition a real crime against humanity.

    I recently wrote a political candidate this: We've got big plans for plantations on MTR sites, ex tobacco farms, feeding new LEED Certified hemp factories, refineries, and mills. There will be Medical grow facilities, dispensaries, and labs. We're an 8 hour drive to 60+ % of America's market place that shows every indication it wants sustainable American made products. The cannabis tourism possibilities are unreal. We are standing in paradise on a gold mine.

    WV is at a cross roads. WIth Delegate Mike Manypenny's legislative efforts, we can essentially lay the foundations for America's next Industrial Revolution. The possibilities for prosperity are quite real. Besides, what other multi billion dollar industries are wanting to move into WV?

    Fair warning to you prohibitionists. Stand down.

  • Kayla

    Tabbaco should be illegal not marijuana. I wish I could call the police on someone smoking a cigarette at a park or in front of me in a grocery store parking lot, filling mine and my sons lungs with second hand smoke. You're killing yourself and people around you when you smoke cigarettes. Marijuana is safe and non addictive.

  • Susan

    I wonder how many people on here against the legalization of cannabis smoke tobacco or have ever drank alcohol. Do you realize how much more harmful both of those DRUGS are to your body? I'm a mother of a straight A college student at Marshall. School gets stressful for my son and cannabis helps him in many ways from getting a good nights sleep to improving his concentration and creativity while writing papers. Just because it is out there doesn't mean you have to smoke it but to each their own. There is no arguing that it is a much safer alternative to addictive drugs. I'm so thankful that my son has chosen to smoke a safe god made herb rather than going out and getting wasted or smoking cancer causing cigarettes. I am not worried about my son getting alcohol poisoning or getting addicted to cigarettes or pain pills in college. My son is smart and my son smokes marijuana. Most importantly my son is safe. HUNGRY but SAFE.

  • ayee

    They should let everyone smoke it , it will stop most of the crimes and people that are on pills will stop , the wrecks will stop , and people will.make more money , if the legalize it , everyone will be happy , and fine , and wees last up to 1 hour

  • believer

    I would like to say thank you to the Silver Haired Legislature. I just read an article in the gazette. I have noticed during my research that most people that i talk to about marijuana still feel funny saying the word. Lets stand together and pass the word. Do some research. Talk to friends and family about marijuana, and take away the taboo.

  • Tyler

    Larry, after reading your comments, I see you have no knowledge of the drug. I can assure you that cannabis does not kill brain cells. Marijuana only makes the brain cells swell up to give the user that "high" feeling. Once the high is gone, the brain cells go back to normal. What our government needs to do is figure out how to create a strain of marijuana that has more CBD and less THC. This will give the user more health benefits, but take away the high. CBD is an active chemical in marijuana that slows cancer cell growth. If used properly, I believe that it may have an effect on cancer curing. Sure, it's not proven, but its a start.


    Look, To any of you who would at least be open minded to learning about new research and how old research is mostly propaganda used by closeminded people to keep this plant, that was once leagal and herolded, illeagal...Go to youtube, search marijuana documentaries and just start whaching. Dr. Sanja Gupta's docu. is a good one as well as "why cannabis is illeagal" and "The best marijuana documentary". There are many others, these are a few. One of them almost brought me to tears, and regaurdless of whether anyone 'wants' to smoke it or not, that documentary(the first one) and anyone with conditions as severe as the little girl's in the docu. are the reason that Marijuana should be legalized at least for medical use!

    So before you say anything, educate yourself on it, and read the propossed bill. H.B. 3251

  • believer

    I hope someone has read this far... today i found a new study. "Cannabinoids destroy cancer cells, PREVENTS THEM FROM GROWING" WOW!!! People everyday pray for a cure to cancer. Now, could it be that we could prevent ourself from even haveing cancer. Lawmakers, please help the great state of wv. We have a high cancer rate. This could help us live. Why is it so tough to see all the good that this god made plant could bring.OH YES, OUR CHILDERN. This plant is not evil. parents should worry more about regular house hold items . Yes, we dont want stoned drivers. but that is common sence. If the public could get a 101 In marijuana , instead of lies and fear , we would all be better off. Help us save lives. Pass the word , and do your Own research.

  • wv4thc

    ive smoked half my life it helps with the pain from broken bones an surgrys over the years.
    i have to hide to smoke something the help me vs. popping some pill that i cant control. i have a great job own my own home , own my own car, but my self through college, have a family.

  • deerman11

    lord you made it .now there trying to take it