CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would legalize the use of marijuana in West Virginia for medical purposes was among the final bills introduced in the state Senate Monday, the deadline for bill introductions during this year’s Regular Legislative Session.

Chris Yeager, a Marine Corps veteran from Kanawha County, supports the proposed law change. “What we’re basically advocating for is the safe, legal access to an alternative to pharmaceuticals,” said Yeager.

He uses marijuana to treat PTSD, but said it has many other potential applications in healthcare – including in the treatment of drug addiction.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is something that we need to add to our arsenal whenever it comes to addressing this opiate and heroin addiction problem in this state,” said Yeager who lost his brother to an overdose of Suboxone in 2010. The Suboxone was being used to treat his brother’s opiate addiction.

In all, some form of medical marijuana is now legal in 23 other states.

“Every state that touches our borders has some type of medical marijuana law in place and I just find it ludicrous that we’re not using this as an opportunity to address the opiate and heroin problems,” Yeager said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“I’m not saying that this is going to completely rid our state of the opiate and heroin problems, but we have to be able to use multiple tools in our toolbelt when we’re addressing this problem.”

As proposed, the “Creating Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis” provides protections for the medical use of cannabis for debilitating medical conditions that are defined in the bill. It also requires qualifying patients and designated caregivers to be registered with the state.

The proposed bill, SB 546, was introduced in the state Senate Monday and referred to the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.

Following Monday’s introduction deadline in the Senate, Tuesday is the final day bills can be introduced in the state House of Delegates.

The 2015 Regular Legislative Session ends on March 14.

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Comments

  • ron50flys

    WELLWELL we have dope heads DRIVING.............who of You all know what a SAFE Blood Level of your WEED infesteed Brain should be to DRIVE SAFLEY>>>>Plz Tell Us????

    • Kevin

      I would but I can't understand the question...

    • Jason

      Ron...lets start here, when pulled over for suspected DUI, the officer will complete a field sobriety test to see if the driver can demonstrate the capacity to operate a vehicle based on the officers training. Tests such as walking a line, etc. A breathalyzer is not always administered and .08 is a subjective number anyway, the officer has the authority based on their training to place you under arrest. The same would apply with marijuana, if suspected you are impaired, the officer would subject you to a field sobriety test to determine if you are able to operate a vehicle. On another note, i don't believe marijuana drivers will be an issue, just look at the facts. MJ is a VERY common drug and it has been for years, how many car accidents have you heard of or read about where MJ was the SOLE drug in the system of the driver. I have tried and I cannot find one. And even if you find ONE, is that really enough to make an argument for keeping it illegal, I doubt it. Fact is, if it really were a problem, there are ALOT of big money people out there with deep political ties that would be taking these stories and bombarding is with them in an effort to keep it illegal, but they just dont exist. Alcohol tends to make people lose inhibitions and do wreckless things, MJ I would say, tends to have people get couch lock and maybe even overthink things.

      • Kevin

        People forget to take into account incidental accounts. If a guy smokes a joint today and the next day he's driving his mother to the dr...then a dog runs out in front of him, and he evades the dog only to hit a kid...when his drug test comes back will it be wrote up as a horrible accident or that he was high on dope? Not all evidence is created equal...

      • earl

        Jason, I guess you do not read USA Today as they published Columbia University researchers performing a toxicology examination of nearly 24,000 driving fatalities concluded that marijuana contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in 2010, tripled from a decade earlier.

        NHTSA studies have found drugged driving to be particularly prevalent among younger motorists. One in eight high school seniors responding to a 2010 survey admitted to driving after smoking marijuana. Nearly a quarter of drivers killed in drug-related car crashes were younger than 25. Likewise, nearly half of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana were younger than 25.

        A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that 4% of drivers were high during the day and more than 6% at night, and that nighttime figure more than doubled on weekends.

        Colorado has seen a spike in driving fatalities in which marijuana alone was involved, according to Insurance.com. The trend started in 2009 — the year medical marijuana dispensaries were effectively legalized at the state level.

        NHTSA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse are now in the final months of a three-year, half-million-dollar cooperative study to determine the impact of inhaled marijuana on driving performance. Tests observe participants who ingest a low dose of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, a high dose and a placebo to assess the effects on performance, decision-making, motor control, risk-taking behavior and divided-attention tasks.

        The study is being performed using what NHTSA calls "the world's most advanced driving simulator," the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator, which was previously used to study the effects of alcohol on driving.

        • Jason

          Earl...nobody ever said driving while impaired with anything is a good idea. But to respond to your post, yes, I do read USA Today and I am actually familiar with those specific studies you cited (and not just the blurb on the USA Today article). One thing to note is these studies use the word "contributed", that can be a stretch, since MJ can be detected in a test up to a month after usage, and even the researchers themselves say that a positive test does not equal impairment. And impairment of the ability to drive a motor vehicle is what we are really trying to determine here, which can be most accurately determined by a field sobriety test by a trained officer.

          Also The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just completed what they believe is the most comprehensive study which indicates "If you're above the legal limit for alcohol, you're at least four times more likely to crash" and "Study shows drivers using pot have the same chance of crashing as sober drivers".

          Bottom line is, don't drink or do drugs and drive. But that being said, I think the downside of keeping MJ illegal is much worse for our society than making it legal and controlling it and educating people to make informed and good decisions. I think we can all agree alcohol is much worse than MH from a driving standpoint and it is legal and controlled, so the driving argument against MJ is not really a rational argument unless you are also saying alcohol should be illegal.

    • Billy

      Recent studies in Colorado show that vehicle accidents are down. Also robberies and other crimes.

      • Jason

        Please don't cite facts to combat years of fear instilled in the brainwashed public.

      • Hillbilly

        You have been into it already !!! LOL

  • Stupid Hillbillies`

    This is the 1st step by the leftist druggies to attempt to legalize marijuana completely. They want legalized medicinal pot - move to Washington or Colorado - Where crime has increased dramatically and abuse has more than doubled. It is the GATEWAY DRUG. Besides, the tax revenue is far below expectations and control costs are greater than ever expected.

  • roscoe52

    Hey XLpatriot I'm 31 years old with 3 fused vertebrae in my back on disability. I was a underground coal miner for 6 years. Before you type, walk 5 yards in my shoes before you throw stones. As in my case, my spine didn't say hey your too young for this to happen. Be thankful your life hasn't been riddle with this debilitating problem since you were 17 years old.

    • 2XLPatriot

      I didn't say 31 year olds with fused vertebraes, now did I? I was referring to the whiney little snot noses who are too lazy to work and some genius lawyer gets them disability because life isn't fair.

    • roscoe 51

      Wimp

      • Rosco 2

        Yes he is !!!!

  • Jim K

    This is good.

    However WV needs to be the first state in the east to totally legalize.

    We'd have a nice steep tax on it and people from all over the east would come here till it's legalized in their states.

    We have a lot of budget shortfalls and this would be a huge help.

    If we wait till all the other states legalize there will be no money to be made.

    • Richard Hertzer

      Common Sense. Property values would go up. Tourism would also increase exponentially. But is WV progressive enough to go that route?
      I hope so, but I think we will be the 50th state to completely legalize cannabis. Medical will be a great start.

  • mikeyd

    its about time

  • Billy

    it is past time to legalize completely. The politicians are suppose to represent the will of the people, not their personal opinion. Marijuana can help control debilitating pain. Who amongst us should stand in the way of another persons personal use? This is supposed to be the land of the free.

  • 2XLPatriot

    Man made beer, God made weed. Who do you trust? For medicinal purposes only is how I would support the legalization. Not these 20 something year olds with back pain on disability for some irrational claim.

    Get caught driving under its influence = 10 lashes at the whipping post.

    • Jason

      While I get what your driving at...that analogy just doesn't hold water. God made Rattlesnake venom. Anyway, do a search for a study just published in the journal Scientific Reports, They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine. All the way at the bottom of the list was cannabis, roughly 114 times less deadly than booze.

      • 2XLPatriot

        And yes, he did make rattlesnake venom, but he also put a rattle on their ass to warn people to stay away.

      • 2XLPatriot

        You completely missed that one, didn't you?

        Simply saying, I would prefer a natural, safe product over a man made chemical.

        • Jason

          Agreed.

  • Brian Kelly

    The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Even The President of the United States has used marijuana. Has it hurt his chances at succeeding in life? If he had gotten caught by the police during his college years, he may have very well still been in prison today! Beyond that, he would then be fortunate to even be able to find a minimum wage job that would consider hiring him with a permanent criminal record.Let's end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

  • ray hotinger

    terrible sounds like your the ignorant hillbilly wake up its 2015 medical marijuana is legal in over half of the US bringing tax money and keeping out mexican drug cartels

  • Jason

    There really is not a rational reason for MJ to be illegal federally. It is time to control and tax it just like alcohol and tobacco. Instead of spending money locking people up, use that money for education programs in schools (just like cigarette smoking is no longer "cool" and high school rates have dropped the past 20 years), also use the money for facilities for people that have addiction problems (with any addiction) to be able to go and get help to get their life back on track and become productive members of society. Assuming somebody who smokes a joint on a Friday night to unwind is a "pot head" is like saying somebody who hits happy hour on a Friday for a few drinks is an alcoholic. Forget what other people have told us through the media etc, just look at the actual numbers and think about it. Colorado and Washington made it legal and life is still going on there, same as always. The momentum is gaining for this and it seems it is inevitable MJ will be legal federally within the next few years. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as long as it does not infringe upon another human's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

  • ray hotinger

    I really hope and pray this bill passes it could help thousands of people.SB 546

  • terrible

    The last thing these hillbillies need is another course to justify them being stoned or high all the time... Do we not already have a pain pill problem in WV....why allow more drugs on the street..... Terrible bill.

    • Karey

      Maybe there wouldn't be a pain pill problem if marijuana was legal and then those pain killers wouldn't be needed. My mother needed marijuana when she had breast cancer and went through kemo. It helped her eat regularly and not puke everything up so yes some of us "hillbilles" need it. Rather smoke some marijuana then take a pill that I don't know what the side effects are or even the long term effects on my liver or other organs.

    • In da stickes

      Moron.

    • Meg

      As a mother of a two-year old with uncontrolled seizures, not having access to this medicine is what I find terrible. The side effects and ineffectiveness of the big-pharma options we've been offered is terrible. The idea that someone would call users of medical marijuana, someone like my toddler, for instance, a hillbilly looking to get higher... THAT is terrible. Do research.

      • Charleston

        So you allow your two-year old, of whom suffers from uncontrolled seizures seizures, to smoke marijuana? Seriously? More like, someone seriously call CPS, because most of your stated "research" is still undergoing clinical research. Clinical research is a far cry from established fact. Wow. Just.... WOW!

        • Meg

          The trials for low THC high CBD strains, while not complete, are promising. No one allows us access to it, so we wait. We try approved medications that are prescribed, without improvement. I pray for families like ours that could potentially benefit from the passing of this bill, and I pray that the stigma associated with medical marijuana subsides. It is devastating to watch your child have seizures daily despite getting care from the top physicians in the country. The passing of this bill would improve the quality of life for so many.

        • Charleston

          http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/02/111641/marijuana-derived-epilepsy-drug-clinical-trial-children-uncontrolled-seizures

    • Jason

      FYI. LAWS do not keep drugs off the street, they are already on the "street". You know it is easier for a high school student to get MJ than beer? Street dealers do not card and there is no regulation. What we need is education and adults to make their own informed decisions on how they want to live their life. We need a controlled system. Keeping MJ illegal does nothing productive, trust freedom. Will there be people who abuse it, sure, but we also have people who abuse alcohol, prescription pills, and fast food. If you think MJ should remain a schedule 1 drug, that is fine with me, I welcome the intellectual argument, however, you then should be making the same argument for alcohol and tobacco to be in the same class or you are a hypocrite.

      • Roger Podacter

        Hear hear

  • Woodchuck

    It is time legalize and stop spending time and resources fighting it.

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    Research is really showing some good things about Medical Cannabis...If it helped with kidney stone pain, i'd be all over using it when I have to pass a stone...

  • Tyler Durden

    Legalize Marijuana completely - not just for medical - lower crime, higher taxes, and less issues with Meth & Heroine