WHITE HALL — Medical marijuana is coming, and West Virginia has been in the process of implementing dispensaries in recent years.
The Town of White Hall could be a site of the next dispensary after the Town Council heard from an advocate for its use at Monday’s meeting.
“I think that medicinal marijuana is going to go,” said White Hall mayor John Michael. “We know people in other states where marijuana is way more prevalent, recreationally and medicinally. I’m glad to see some local people trying to get the financing together and keep it within our state.”
Local business owner Tiffany Samuels is currently seeking a permit to open a dispensary, and turned to White Hall because of its location and demographics.
“I am in the process of applying for a permit for a dispensary to sell medical marijuana,” said Samuels, who owns Eye Candy in Fairmont. “I have come to present to Town Council many times over the years, and I know that it has always been a progressive community.”
Samuels said that she was once against the use of marijuana as a medical tool, but found that it could be useful in treating conditions like epilepsy and chronic pain.
“It has been proven that marijuana will help people with pain,” Samuels said. “So that will decrease their need for opioids. So that is one of the requirements, it has to be serious chronic pain... They can then come off of some of the prescriptions for pain relief.”
Samuels contacted White Hall council member Frank Jarman to facilitate this discussion at Monday’s meeting. Jarman said that the implementation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the town could aid in the town’s financial situation as well as its residents in need.
“Tiffany approached me and asked what I thought the overwhelming opinion would be, I was pretty sure it would be for it,” Jarman said. “It is legal and it is handled in a very professional manner, and it is regulated.
“This would be a nice bump in our sales tax, but the main thing is getting help for the people who need it.”
According to Samuels, there are people in the area who could benefit from medical marijuana, and bringing it to Marion County could be an opportunity to also demonstrate this benefit.
“Education will be a huge component for the dispensary, as I see it,” Samuels said. “Also, I thought the access to the Interstate would be great.”
Jarman is also the executive director of the Marion County Family Resource Network and runs the Substance Abuse Coalition as well. He said that the regulated nature of legal marijuana could help people to stop using illegal drugs like opiates, and cut down on deaths.
“I’m all for medical marijuana being dispensed in a professional way to help people with chronic illnesses,” Jarman said. “It’s not being dealt out of somebody’s basement, this is something that’s going to be screened, regulated and hopefully help a lot of people.”
Michael, too, said that medical marijuana could benefit the people of not only White Hall, but all of West Virginia, and agreed that the fewer amount of illegal drugs on the street, the better.
“They’re distributed for a good cause, but maybe a family member takes them from the sick person, maybe someone breaks in for those pills,” Michael said. “If there are fewer opiates distributed, that’s a good thing.”