West Virginia, what exactly is your deal? You can’t pay your teachers a fair wage or give them decent benefits. You are one of the poorest states in the country, yet you stay fixated upon that “beautiful clean” coal Trump keeps pushing – meanwhile, mines keep shutting down. Now, you’re trying to fuck up the Cannabis Program that is to be implemented next year.
In April 2017, Governor Jim Justice signed the Medical Cannabis Act into law. Under the law, seriously ill West Virginians will be able to purchase and use medical cannabis legally. The law includes the following forms of marijuana derivatives: pills, oils, creams, ointments, gels, tinctures, and liquid. Those eligible would be patients suffering from Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and cancer.
Plus? It will provide jobs and revenue for a state that desperately needs both.
However, West Virginia can’t even manage to get an act that has that much beneficial potential passed correctly for its citizens. The State Treasurer, John Perdue (R), wrote a letter to Justice, legislative leaders, and state officials March 1. He stated that because of the disparity between state and federal law regarding medical marijuana, the state can’t support the program with financial services.
The letter reads in part,
Our vendors currently do not desire to engage in accepting any deposits related to sales, fees, licenses, or taxes related to state-sanctioned medical cannabis sales. Therefore, in the best interest of the State, the Treasurer’s Office is unwilling to accept the funds derived from medical cannabis at this time.
After receiving the letter, the Senate overhauled the bill with several changes to the program, including establishing a credit union as a workaround – banks are subject to federal law whereas credit unions are through the state alone.
West Virginia had better hope to get this right. This is potentially a lot of revenue and relief for chronically and terminally ill patients. Data shows that states with medical marijuana laws have less opioid-related deaths and West Virginia is as entrenched in the opioid epidemic as the rest of the country. However, the only lawmakers opposed to this act are Republicans – which seems to be typical.
Leave it to the Republicans to vote against something that can only help their constituents.