On April 19, 2017, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 386, also known as the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing medical cannabis as a treatment option for patients suffering from one of several qualifying conditions. Justice’s signature on SB 386 makes West Virginia the 29th state to have enacted medical cannabis legislation.
“West Virginians are compassionate people and this law will help our neighbors who are struggling with illness,” Justice said in a press release. “This is a bipartisan effort and I want to thank Senator Ojeda, Senator Woelfel, Delegate Pushkin, and Delegate Folk for leading the charge to get this done. The people were heard loud and clear on this bill.”
The following conditions qualify for medical cannabis treatment: terminal illness, HIV/AIDS, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, spinal cord damage, neuropathies, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, intractable seizures or “severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective as determined as part of continuing care.”
The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act does not permit patients to smoke or grow medical cannabis, but the bill does allow them to consume cannabis via extracts, tinctures and oils. July 1, 2019, is the earliest patients will be issued medical cannabis cards.
To commemorate what Justice termed a “monumental day,” the governor held a bill signing ceremony with members of the legislature, where he connected the duties of a legislator with the duties of being a compassionate public servant.
“How could you turn your back on a loved one that was really suffering and we had a vehicle to be able to help and we just turned our back and said, ‘Nope, we’re not going to do that … .’ To me, that’s not listening to the wise … ,” Justice said.
You can watch Justice’s bill signing ceremony below.