CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Could legalizing marijuana solve the state budget crisis?
It’s a conversation that Del. Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) said he at least wants to get started at the State Capitol, introducing a bill legalizing the drug as the special budget session continues.
The bill would decriminalize and permit personal use, growth and possession of certain amounts of marijuana by persons over the age of 21.
“I’m not under the impression that (House) Speaker (Tim) Armstead is going to run this bill,” Pushkin said on “580 Live” with Charleston Mayor Danny Jones Wednesday. “I just thought it was a good time to at least start talking about it, because we are in a financial crisis in this state.
Dels. Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio), Bill Flanigan (R-Monongalia), Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) and Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) all signed the bill.
“I don’t think it’s really that unrealistic considering other states have done it,” Pushkin said. “Pennsylvania I believe signed medical marijuana the other day, and Ohio is well on their way to doing the same thing.”
Pushkin reiterated that although the bill has a lot of support on social media, it was triple referenced and he didn’t have expectations that it would be discussed during the special session, which entered day 8 on Wednesday.
Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Washington, D.C. have recently legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Twelve states have both medical marijuana and decriminalization laws. Ten states, Guam, and Puerto Rico have only legalized medical marijuana.