Legalization of medical marijuana in West Virginia really happened, making it the 29th state to do so officially. People are very excited. When West Virginia allows it, you know medical weed is now firmly entrenched in America’s heartland. The state finally enacted a law that gives seriously ill patients the right to treat themselves with cannabis, provided they have a doctor’s recommendation, of course.
Medical Cannabis Act of West Virginia
On April 6, 2017, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, or Senate Bill 386, finally received legislative approval after the House ignored it for some time. Introduced by Senator Richard Ojeda (D-Logan), it gives regulatory control over all medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and distributors to the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, officially charging it with oversight authority.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana Legalization for West Virginia
Qualified patients with listed medical conditions are now able to use medical marijuana in every form except smoking it. They can use concentrated extracts, such as tinctures, oils, infusions, and even topical creams, but they may not possess or use flowers or leaves. Still, countless families in West Virginia will benefit from this legislation in the very near future. Expect these benefits from legalizing medical pot:
- Medical Health
Cannabinoids in marijuana work in conjunction with our body’s own endocannabinoids, making it easy for human tissue to absorb them effectively. The medicinal properties of marijuana are virtually limitless. Science proves it provides pain relief and treats a variety of debilitating conditions. Patients will be healthier and happier, as cannabis is non-toxic and non-addictive, unlike modern medicines.
- Opioid Use
An opioid epidemic is sweeping across the United States. It is plaguing West Virginia particularly severely, with overdose mortalities higher there than in any other state. Tragic fatalities and opioid abuse are currently plummeting in every state where medical marijuana is legal, as people no longer rely on prescription drugs for pain relief and addictive behavior.
- Employment Growth
The medical marijuana industry is simply exploding in every legal state. Investors are funding ventures and shaping commercialization. It is creating jobs. Millions of them. According to Forbes, the cannabis market will employ more people than manufacturing by 2020 and is already worth more than $8 billion. California and Colorado are leading the way, but West Virginia can expect such economic growth soon.
- Tax Revenues
The State of West Virginia will benefit enormously from sales, economic, and regulatory taxes. The financial injection could fund crucial infrastructure and state-sponsored projects. Taxing cannabis could add billions to the fiscal coffers and generate various state revenues. Expect spinoff business to pay tax, as well, such as cannabis coffee shops, hemp suppliers, tourism, and even paraphernalia sales.
- Enforcement Costs
In West Virginia alone, marijuana enforcement costs millions each year. State prisons are also expensive to operate and maintain. Jail costs are unaffordable. Probation, court and felony prosecutions cost the state far too much. All of this money can go to better uses, and fewer innocent people can suffer the consequences of charges, such as housing and employment exclusion, reputation loss, and prison time.
- Crime Problems
Violent robberies and crime sprees are a serious problem in West Virginia, as everywhere else. Because states with legal marijuana have higher employment rates, crime levels are slowly diminishing. Many criminals only turn to crime when they lack other options. Now that more people are working, they have less time to commit atrocities and more money to feed and clothe their families.
Legalization of Medical Marijuana in West Virginia
Until now, qualified medical patients in West Virginia had to travel to other states where their medicine is legal. Transport costs can be expensive for some, and others may not be able to travel at all, for either health or financial reasons. Expecting them to do so was inhumane, and because of this, the state had no option but to make access easier for them.
Furthermore, widespread recognition of the medicinal value of cannabis is thrusting the plant into the spotlight. People are accepting it rapidly and the social stigma associated with it in the past is quickly fading. In California, only one tenth of the population remains unconvinced. The other 90 percent are steadfast in their approval of legalization. West Virginia had to listen to its citizens and legalize.
Medical marijuana will soon be legal in every U.S. state. It is inevitable and even the most stubborn will have to succumb to the pressure eventually. The weed industry is set to explode in West Virginia, and intelligent cannabis entrepreneurs should develop their business plans now if they are not doing so already. Those with the foresight to get in early are set to lead the way into a huge future market.
This is very exciting news and hope this continues to open up new possibilities for legalization in more states.