Although West Virginia passed a bill to legalize medical cannabis back in 2017, the state still hasn’t launched a medical marijuana industry. Now it seems like a bill that would have expanded the space to include cannabis edibles has stalled in a state health committee. Bill SB 590, which was introduced by Senators Mike Woelfel, Stephen Baldwin, Shelley Moore Capito, Ron Stollings, and Richard David Lindsay II would have allowed the state’s medical cannabis program to incorporate edibles, but it looks like its chances of moving forward are slim.
On March 24, the Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of the bill, eliminating language in the state medical cannabis bill that banned medical cannabis edibles. The bill advanced to the House of Delegates and has since been in the House Health and Human Resources Committee, but it has failed to make it to a meeting agenda. During the floor session on April 1, Delegate Mike Pushkin unsuccessfully tried to convince the health committee to discharge the edible medical marijuana bill and forward it to the House Judiciary Committee.
However, Majority Leader Amy Summers tabled his motion. Pushkin had argued that allowing edibles would expand access for medical cannabis patients and provide them with more treatment options. Woelfel, one of the bill’s backers, said he sponsored the legislation because he had friends suffering from cancer who would benefit a great deal from medical marijuana. Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo is also a doctor, and he says he has seen patients benefit from using medical marijuana.
If the state could find a way to manufacture medical cannabis edibles, patients suffering from conditions such as cancer, MS and chronic pain could have another way of consuming medical cannabis that doesn’t endanger their lungs, he says.
However, the bill has seen plenty of pushback. Although Woelfel insisted that gummies, or anything shaped like fruits, animals or humans that would be attractive to children was off the table, Senator Robert Karnes argued that the restrictions were not limiting enough. Any sugar or chocolate-flavored edible product is sure to attract children, he argues. As long as it is sweet, children will grab the bag and start eating.
On the other hand, Mike Romano said that such fearmongering was the reason why the state still hasn’t moved forward with its medical marijuana sector, despite passing medical cannabis legislation back in 2017. Similarly, Senate Health Committee Chairman Mike Maroney said the fact that the state’s cannabis program isn’t up and running is embarrassing. But with the House Health and Human Resources Committee not meeting again this session, the edible medical cannabis bill is more than likely dead for this session.
It is unfortunate that the medical cannabis program in West Virginia is taking so long to take off while users in other states or countries with enabling laws have a wide array of high-quality products made by a number of manufacturers such as Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF).
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