It’s time to have a full and open debate.
Should the use of marijuana for medical purposes be legalized in West Virginia?
Such legislation was introduced last Thursday in Charleston. The bill would allow people with “debilitating medical conditions” to possess up to six ounces of marijuana and 24 cannabis plants to treat their symptoms — as long as they have written certification from a physician. Only 12 of the 24 plants could be mature at a time, and all would have to be be cultivated in an enclosed, locked space. The law would allow patients to designate “caregivers” to cultivate their 24 allotted plants for them. Each caregiver could grow marijuana for up to five patients.
The “debilitating medical conditions,” according to the bill, include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and addiction to opiates or amphetamines.
The lead sponsor of the bill, Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, said he doesn’t expect the bill to pass in the fourth year he’s presented it. The fact that it’s an an election year could hinder the effort, Manypenny believes.
It appears, though, that the concept of medical marijuana is gaining support nationally and in West Virginia.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling, conducted in December, found 56 percent of West Virginians support legalizing medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, while 34 percent oppose. One year ago, a similar poll showed 53 percent of West Virginians supported legalization, while 40 percent opposed it.
Those numbers are close to a recent Times West Virginian poll that asked, “Should medicinal marijuana be legalized in West Virginia?” It found 55 percent support the idea, while 45 percent oppose.
Last October, the Silver-Haired Legislature, whose members include active West Virginia senior citizens, issued a position paper asking the state to adopt legalization.
“In many cases, it is a more effective and less-dangerous option than pharmaceutical drugs,” the position paper said. “The proposed reform would make it possible for adults battling illnesses to access marijuana safely and legally, without having to deal with an illicit market dominated by criminals.”
Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. Colorado and Washington are the only two states that have legalized both medical and recreational uses of marijuana.
Others states now reported to be considering legal medical marijuana are Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee and New York. States with 2014 legislation favorable toward medical marijuana but not legalizing it are Alabama and Indiana.
Opponents of medical marijuana have legitimate concerns. They say the drug has a high potential for abuse and that poorly written laws allow people to exploit loopholes in order to get high.
“We already have enough problems with prescription drugs,” state Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. “We would be opening the door for more problems.”
They deserve an opportunity to make their case, as do supporters.
For Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, for example, it’s personal. Moore’s oldest sister died of lupus, an autoimmune disease that can damage skin, joints and internal organs.
Moore told The (Beckley) Register-Herald that his sister’s life could have been easier if she’d been able to use medical marijuana.
“Life would have been a lot less painful for her,” Moore said. “I’m assuming other West Virginians have similar circumstances.”
Medical marijuana is an issue that deserves a full airing of the facts. Polls show it’s a proposal the public may be willing to support. The West Virginia legislative session would be an excellent forum.
It’s time to have a full and open debate.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
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- State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core