West Virginia Joint Health Committee considering medical marijuana


Country roads, take me home to the place where medical cannabis is grown. West Virginia state lawmakers will hear two hours of testimony from medical marijuana advocates Wednesday – more than double the amount of time allotted to most issues, according to the Register-Herald.
The hearing comes thanks to a House resolution passed in W. Va. last session calling for a feasibility study on medical cannabis and is being touted as a leap by Rep. Mike Manypenny, the lone sponsor of failed medical cannabis legislation over the last two sessions.

According to Manypenny, the pushback in the past against medical marijuana legislation has mostly come from his peers in the state house who laughed at his proposals openly.
“And now, people are starting to take it seriously,” he tells the Charleston Daily Mail. “The science is there, and we need to recognize it. And we need to pass it for the treatment of the chronically ill patients in West Virginia that it could help.”

Rep. Mike Manypenny.

Manypenny says the committee will hear the story of Colorado medical marijuana patient Charlotte Figi, a six-year-old we’ve featured in the past that suffers from a rare condition that can cause up to 40 seizures in an hour. Cannabis has helped drop her attacks significantly and led to a much more normal life for the littler girl.
Manypenny says the attitude among his fellow legislators is changing and attributes part of the shift to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his recent special touting medical cannabis as a valid therapy for sick people.
“I see three or more legislators in the halls, put my arms around them, say, ‘Let’s talk about medical marijuana,’ and they talked and it created a little debate,” Manypenny said. “That ice breaker gave people more comfort and more ease to discuss it. The more people talked about it, the more I think they see it as just a common thing.”
Matt Simon, spokesman and analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project as well as West Virginia native, is also set to speak. Simon says he has also noticed a shift in attitude at the statehouse in Charleston.
“I don’t have a head count, but that’s the impression that we get,” Simon tells the Daily Mail.. “Speaking with legislators, it seems a majority understands that if somebody has a severe case of cancer or multiple sclerosis, they should be able to use it without criminal penalties.”
The hearing starts at 11 a.m. Wednesday.