West Virginia only recently approved medical marijuana. In April 2017, patients with certain medical conditions, including Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS, can acquire a certain amount of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
While West Virginia has finally hopped onboard the medical marijuana bandwagon, it still does not allow marijuana for recreational use. Several other states have approved the drug for that purpose, and West Virginia may not be that far behind. As of this writing, anyone who possesses marijuana without a doctor’s prescription can face arrest.
House Bill 3035
Right now, the quickest course to allowing recreational marijuana in the state is with House Bill 3035. This is a bill introduced earlier in 2017. If passed, it would allow the manufacturing, selling and distributing of marijuana in West Virginia. The bill would also work to establish a regulatory commission to determine how to sell the drug and how organizations should test it before selling.
Part of the bill would involve classifying marijuana similarly to alcohol. This means that only people who are at least 21 years old could purchase it. Marijuana would also have a hefty tax tacked on, similar to cigarettes. Additionally, people could not drive while under the influence of marijuana. If the police catch people driving with marijuana in their systems, then they would face a DUI charge.
Idea behind House Bill 3035
The idea behind the new bill is to free up law enforcement to focus on other matters. Many nonviolent offenders end up going to jail for possessing small quantities of marijuana. The bill would allow police to ignore people holding marijuana while focusing on harder drugs.
Additionally, an auxiliary goal is to bring in additional revenue to go to public services. As seen in other states, such as Colorado, taxes from marijuana went to the state to go toward education. There are some great benefits, but only time will tell if it passes.