State has not relaxed stance on pot

As states across the U.S. decriminalize first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana, and West Virginia itself giving its use the green light for medicinal purposes, it would be easy to think that the state is OK with marijuana. But that is not the case, not yet, for West Virginians.

According to CBS Fox WVNStv.com, the state’s medical marijuana law is set to go into effect on July 1, 2019. That law has not been defined beyond allowing patients with certain medical conditions to possess small amounts of marijuana-infused products, such as pills, patches and oils. But even as lawmakers hammer out the details of the 2019 law, proponents are already pushing for changes that would broaden its scope.

The State Senate is indeed weighing revisions to the law that would boost the allowable number of dispensaries beyond its current limit of 35. Additional changes under consideration are allowing patients to grow up to four pot plants at home for their own use, and allowing them to smoke or eat it, which they are not allowed to do currently.

Even with the easing of these restrictions, the state is not shifting its general stance on possession of the herb. According to FindLaw, patients must have a valid prescription for marijuana use or face a misdemeanor charge that could land you between three to six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine. For subsequent violations, penalties double.

The state continues to ban the cultivation, delivery and possession with intent to sell the drug. It is a felony to sell or transport marijuana, punishable by a fine of as much as $15,000 and 1-5 years in prison. Adults who sell pot to a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school must serve two years in prison before the possibility of parole.

It is also illegal to possess with the intent to sell drug paraphernalia, including pipes, roach clips, bongs and any implements used in growing or processing the drug. You could receive a sentence of six months to one year, plus a $5,000 fine if convicted. Penalties for subsequent offenses are doubled.

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