Lawmakers circulate petition for medical marijuana special session

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Some state lawmakers are pushing a petition that would instruct Gov. Jim Justice to call a special legislative session in order to address financial problems associated with the state’s medical marijuana law.

Twenty-one senators had signed the chamber’s petition, meeting the three-fifths majority threshold, while the House of Delegates is short of meeting the 60 votes needed for the petition to succeed.

The state Legislature ended its special session Monday afternoon but failed to pass a measure related to medical marijuana before adjournment.

House Democrats failed to move a bill to the floor on Sunday regarding monetary transactions for when medical cannabis becomes legal next year. Banks have previously said they are unwilling to process funds because marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson

“We just can’t pass a law that now says any of our banks or financial institutions are immune from federal prosecution,” Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, used his time on the program to attack U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, who previously said he would enforce federal law when the medical marijuana becomes legal.

“If Mike Stuart, who is a former Republican operative, just doesn’t want to see it because he’s ideologically and philosophically opposed to the program, just come out and say it,” Miley said. “Don’t pretend like you’re going to issue these subtle threats of prosecution when other U.S. attorneys around the country — who are all also currently Republicans appointed by President Trump — who are not threatening prosecution.”

Stuart was the state chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. He was sworn in as U.S. attorney for the southern district of West Virginia in January.

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