CHARLESTON, W.Va. – One member of the West Virginia House of Delegates will try for a fourth time to get the Legislature to legalize medical marijuana.
Taylor County Democrat Mike Manypenny was the sole sponsor of a bill legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes for two session. Last year he had a few lawmakers on his side. He said he’s heading into the 2014 Legislative session with 18-20 other delegates ready to sign on to the bill.
“There’s been studies all over the world. One of the most recent ones came from the University of Madrid, in Spain, which actually shows there’s promise for using cannabis, which has the potential for killing cancer cells,” according to the delegate.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia already allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Manypenny said it’s time for West Virginia to follow suit.
“We do need to do a lot more research,” said Manypenny. “But in the meantime, there are a lot of people out there that are suffering with a lot of different diseases that I believe could be treated with this rather than using a pharmaceutical that has 20 different side effects.”
Opponents of the bill say legalizing medical marijuana will open the door to potentially deadly consequences including more addiction, overdoses and child endangerment. Law enforcement and several children’s advocacy groups across the state have already come out against the legalization of marijuana.
Manypenny stressed West Virginians have been using medicinal plants for hundreds of years to help those in pain.
“A lot of people still utilize roots and herbs for medicine across the state and a lot of them are very effective.”
Manypenny said golden seal, yellow root and gin sing are just a few examples.
However, even he isn’t convinced that the leadership of the House will give a legalized medical marijuana bill a chance this session.
“I’m hopeful but I don’t know, this being an election year,” he explained.
The 2014 Legislative session kicks off January 8.