By Derrick Stanley
A bill making the use of medical marijuana legal in West Virginia was approved by the House of Delegates on Tuesday.
The bill, SB386, passed the Senate last week. It would have created a West Virginia Cannabis Commission charged with overseeing medical marijuana regulation in the state.
On Monday, the House of Delegates amended the bill so that instead of a commission, it would create an advisory board within the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health.
Several other changes were made by the House as well. In a 51-48 vote, delegates approved an amendment by Delegate John Shott, R- Mercer and House Judiciary chairman, that would prohibit smoking, ban people from growing their own plants, and charge $100,000 annual fees for growers and processors.
While proponents of the original bill spoke against Shott’s amendment Monday, saying the Senate may not concur with it, and that it benefited pharmaceutical companies at the expense of low-income West Virginians, on Tuesday morning, proponents in the House were saying they supported the amended legislation.
“It really is a good first step,” said Delegate Mike Pushkin, D- Kanawha. “We can fix it later.”