West Virginia Becomes 29th US State To OK Medical Marijuana
Marking a liberal approach by creating a bigger role in treating the terminally ill, West Virginia on Wednesday joined the club of states that legalized medical marijuana.
The legislation making West Virginia the 29th state in the United States to legalize medical marijuana has been signed by Gov. Jim Justice.
The new law will make medical marijuana available for certain medical conditions under strict state controls.
It will also allow doctors to prescribe cannabis for patients suffering from seizures, cancer, chronic pain, stress disorder, AIDS and other problems.
"All of us will feel like we're doing something good for a family out there," Justice said at the signing ceremony in Charleston.
Marijuana Patient ID Cards In July 2019
West Virginia's State Bureau of Public Health will oversee the implementation of the new rule for medical marijuana and will issue the patient identification cards by July 2019.
The comprehensive medical marijuana bill also aims to set up a medical cannabis commission in the run-up to the regulatory infrastructure for the Bureau of Public Health.
The push for the law came mainly from Democratic law makers and the governor expressed the view that the law will open up treatment for the needy after approval by the medical community.
Patients suffering from 16 conditions can expect support from the new law. Their cards will be permitted by the doctor, who will also request for an approval to recommend marijuana from the Board of Public Health.
Among the conditions that can avail the treatment are terminal illnesses, cancer, HIV, AIDS, and Parkinson's disease.
However, an ID card does not entitle any patient to grow or smoke marijuana. Only a duly licensed dispensary can issue it.
The medical marijuana will come in the form of pills, gels, oils, creams, ointments, tincture, liquid, dermal patch, or plant forms administered through a vaporizer.
Schedule 1 Drug And Legal Curbs For Use
At the federal level, marijuana is still maintained as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug with strict curbs on its use. The classified status is on par with heroin.
Despite the controls, a large percentage of Americans have used pot at least once, a survey said. The survey revealed that 52 percent of adult Americans have used marijuana at least once and 14 percent has been using it regularly.
The survey studied the patterns of personal use of marijuana and took the opinion of Americans who are 18 years old and above.
Rising Sales Of Marijuana And Rules To Know
Meanwhile, market research says the legal marijuana market in the United States will grow to $24 billion by 2025, according to New Frontier Data, the business intelligence for the cannabis industry. The legal cannabis market will have an annual growth rate of 16 percent.
The sales of legal pot jumped to $6.6 billion in 2016, in which $4.7 billion was medical marijuana, $1.9 billion for recreational.
There are rules to be followed in buying pot or cannabis.
Recreational marijuana is already legalized in Alaska, Maine, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Washington, D.C legalized it in 2015.
- The buyer must be 21 or above, if it is for recreational marijuana in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.
- There is no bar in possessing pot and getting high in eight states and Washington, D.C. if the person is 21 and above.
- Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. In 18 other states, medical marijuana laws are still restrictive.