Monongalia County Commission uses new state law to reject additional health department regulations on medical marijuana

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Monongalia County Commission unanimously rejected additional regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries proposed by the Monongalia County Board of Health in a meeting held Wednesday in Morgantown.

Tom Bloom

All three commissioners acknowledged the complexity of the medical cannabis business, security, safety and legal issues addressed by the health board in their proposed regulations.

“This is a complicated issue, medical marijuana, but this issue to me is very clear,” Commissioner Tom Bloom said. “The proposed rules are beyond the lawful power and authority of the Mon County Board of Health.”

The board added requirements for two 24-hour security guards, indoor loading docks, an onsite medical professional and additional guidelines for distances from public buildings and other dispensaries. The added regulations were approved by the health board on May 27. It had a work session with county commissioners last week.

Sean Sikora

“I see that the regulations do have two fatal flaws that require me to vote to reject them,” Commission President Sean Sikora said. “Several of the proposed cannabis rules go beyond the statutory authority of the board of health and they also conflict with state rules and laws already in place that regulate the same activities.”

Commissioner Jeff Arnett said his objection strictly was based on conflict with state law.

The county commission rejected the additional regulations under a new state law that allows elected members of city councils and county commissions, other local governments more oversight over actions taken by local county health boards. At the time, lawmakers said the bill would allow more local input to potentially controversial issues.

The health board could decide to challenge the commission’s decision in court. The board is scheduled to meet July 29.

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