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Locals express support, caution for Medical Cannabis Act


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. —  Most area residents both supportive and cautious Wednesday about legislation which would allow physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana products in West Virginia.

During Tuesday’s legislative session, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed Senate Bill 386, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, by a vote of 76 to 24. The bill was then sent back to the Senate to see whether members there will concur with any changes made by the House. Delegates approved an amendment by Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, in which smoking marijuana and using it in edible products would be prohibited. However, a person could get a pill, oil or topical drops. Drops could be put into edible products and tea. People would get a certficate from the Bureau for Public Health and get an ID card. They could then visit a dispensary and have a product filled for a 30-day supply.

People shopping Wednesday at the Mercer Mall had mixed opinions about allowing medicinal marijuana to be used in West Virginia. Some residents said it could be beneficial while others were worried that medical marijuana could lead to recreational use or the abuse of medicinal products.

“I do,” Sarah Cornelius, 34, of Bluefield replied when asked if she supported Senate Bill 386. “It’s a thousand times safer than the other drugs they prescribe.”

Cornelius said she was “on the fence” about recreational marijuana use, but “100 percent” for the medical variety.

One area man who declined to give his name said that while he has not personally used medicinal marijuana, he has seen its benefits.

“I’ve seen what medical marijuana can do,” he stated. “It’s a medicine, not a drug.”

Not everyone supported the idea of allowing medicinal marijuana into the state.

“I don’t,” Howard Rowe, 36, of Oakvale said when asked if he supported the concept. “I just don’t like it.”  He was concerned about medical marijuana leading to recreational use and becoming a gateway drug to other controlled substances.

“I’ve got kids, and I don’t want them to grow up with that around,” Rowe added.

“I don’t like it,”  his companion, Adrian Garnes, 27, of Ripley said. She was also worried about children being exposed to it.

A Richlands, Va., resident, Jeff Griffith, 50, said he was concerned, too, about the idea. Marijuana would be all right provided it was used only for medical purposes.

“Anything other than that, I think you’d be opening it to abuse,” he said.

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