UPDATE: W.Va. governor signs medical marijuana law

Marijuana graphic by MGN.
Marijuana graphic by MGN.(KOLO)
Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 5:13 PM EDT
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UPDATE: 04/19/2017 4:00 P.M.

Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill Wednesday making medical marijuana legal in West Virginia.

Senate Bill 386 was passed by the Legislature on April 6.

West Virginia becomes the 29th state to adopt a medical-marijuana law.

Patients will not permitted to grow their own marijuana under the law.

Gov. Justice has publicly expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana.

UPDATE: April 7, 2017, 11:10 A.M.

The West Virginia Legislature on Thursday evening approved the medical marijuana bill, sending the measure to Gov. Jim Justice's desk.

Justice, who has publicly expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana, is expected to sign the bill into law.

That would make West Virginia the 29th state to adopt a medical marijuana law.

Senate Bill 386 was introduced by Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan. The bill underwent amendments in both the Senate and the House.

The House voted Thursday to concur and complete the Senate's bill.

Matt Simon of the Marijuana Project Policy Project said the legislation would be welcome, despite the amendments.

“This will be an important and, in some cases, life-saving program,” Simon said in a news release. “It is critical that the state implement it promptly. We are committed to working with officials to make sure the program is as effective as possible and to get it up and running in a timely fashion. Many patients cannot afford to wait much longer.”

UPDATE: April 5, 2017, 6:31 P.M.

The W.Va. Senate has passed a bill making medical marijuana legal in the state.

Senate Bill 386 passed the Senate with a 28-6 vote Wednesday.

After passing the bill, the Senate requested the House of Delegates to concur.

The bill would require the State's Bureau of Public Health to oversee medical marijuana in the state and it would also ban patients from growing their own marijuana, among other things.

UPDATE: April 4, 2017, 6:13 P.M.

A bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it was approved by the West Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday. SB 386 passed 76-24 on third reading after being revised on second reading.

“The Legislature has answered the prayers of many seriously ill West Virginians and their families,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “This could be life-saving legislation for some patients. We commend House members for working diligently to make sure it passes this year, but we urge the Legislature to continue efforts to make sure the program truly works for the seriously ill and to ensure it does not unnecessarily drive up costs.”

SB 386 was originally introduced by Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) in the Senate, where it was approved 28-6 last week. The House version of the bill, which is titled the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, would charge the Bureau of Public Health with regulating medical marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries, while the Senate version would set up a 16-member independent commission. Under the amended House bill, patients with specifically listed qualifying medical conditions could use extracts, tinctures, and other preparations of marijuana, but not marijuana in flower or leaf form. This differs from the Senate version of the bill and most of the other state medical marijuana programs.