Medical Marijuana Bill Headed to West Virginia Governor Justice's Desk

Tabitha Dunn
April 10, 2017

In West Virginia, SB 386, which legalizes the production, sale, and use of medical cannabis, received final approval in the West Virginia legislature on Thursday.

According to the text of the amended bill, a person applying for use of medical marijuana in West Virginia would need a written certification from a physician in accordance with a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

West Virginia's Democratic Gov. Jim Justice said Saturday night that he was near a deal with the Senate Republican leadership to limit budget cuts and overhaul taxes, but lawmakers later passed a spending plan that closes a projected deficit simply with deeper cuts.

The budget bill as passed included $90 million in cuts and about $90 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

For the month of March, general revenue fund collections were $331.5 million, $26.3 million above the original budget estimate.

Those are parts of a road construction program that Justice said will create 48,000 jobs.

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Appearing in Wheeling, where one of the state's two dog tracks is located, Justice says he won't let the Legislature walk away from an industry that provides 1,700 jobs. Justice said he was pessimistic about the budget situation for the last three days but his view changed at 2 p.m. Saturday. It also didn't make cuts to higher education or to secondary school education, while providing a pay raise for teachers.

It would raise the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, add a corporate revenues tax of 0.00045 percent and in 2018 establish new income tax tiers cutting the current rate 20 percent.

Republicans wanted more cuts and no tax increases while the governor's proposal was almost $4.4 billion, of which about $220 million was from higher taxes.

Del. Ron Walters, R-Kanawha, said a budget deal between the Senate and Justice "blindsided" the house. The legislation at press time was headed to the Senate for deliberations, according to Justice. Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws, and 18 states have adopted medical marijuana laws that are ineffective because they are either unworkable or exceptionally restrictive.

Both bills passed by small margins after much debate.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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