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.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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