W.Va. Senate passes medical cannabis bill, moves on to House of Delegates

The West Virginia Senate voted on Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 386, also known as the Creating WV Medical Cannabis Act.

“This is an opportunity for us to pass historic legislation that will do more for the citizens of West Virginia than any bill that I have seen this session combined,” said lead sponsor of the bill Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan.

The text of the bill can be found on the West Virginia Legislature website, where it outlines the guidelines for who is allowed to administer and obtain the medical cannabis. According to the West Virginia Legislature website, the bill held a large number of sponsors.

SB 386 is shown on the West Virginia Legislature website as being a bipartisan effort.

Ojeda said there would be countless benefits of SB 386 if it were to pass and become law. Ojeda said the bill would help with criminal records, people needing the assistance, and financially for the state, to name a few.

“I hope that people realize over in the House that it’s time for us to open our eyes and do something for our people,” Ojeda said.

The West Virginia Senate Roll Call shows SB 386 passed by a large majority, with a 28-6 vote. The bill outlines the creation of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission, which will consist of a variety of professionals who would be in charge of the funding.

According to the bill, “annually ten percent of the funds shall be dedicated to education programs regarding safe cannabis use and supporting controlled substance and alcohol recovery programs.”

The text of the bill found on the West Virginia Legislature website states medical conditions the commission will consider for use. Some of the conditions in the bill include seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, refractory generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.

Tennika Phillips, who is a mental health specialist at the Marshall University Counseling Center, weighed in on the effects of the bill in regards to her profession.

“It’s going to depend on what other treatments are in place, because I truly believe in addressing all aspects of health rather than whatever their prescription being whether it’s medical marijuana or anti-anxiety medication,” Phillips said on the substance’s effects on recovery.

Phillips also said it was necessary for patients to get the counseling aspect of recovery. Senate Bill 386 has since been communicated from the Senate to the House of Delegates for further consideration.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]