WV drags feet on medical cannabis
I am writing to alert you of the current status of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act. At the end of March this year, I wrote Freedom of Information Act requests to the secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, attorney general and the Governor's Office on the status of "reciprocal agreements and conventions with neighboring states" in conjunction with the act (SB386).
To date, all parties except the Governor's Office have failed to provide any information; in fact, the attorney general has failed deliver on their April 30 deadline with any materials, in violation of the FOIA statute. The Governor's Office sent merely a copy of the minutes from the medical cannabis advisory public meeting, which I personally attended last year.
The act has finally after two years been amended for implementation and will miss its deadline for commencement on July 1, 2019. Because most of the allowable illnesses treatable under the medical cannabis law are either terminal or extremely painful, this makes reciprocal agreements and conventions a humanitarian issue.
Self-cultivation is also a critical issue due to the lack of insurance coverage for medical cannabis, especially for indigent and working-class West Virginians suffering from chronic and terminal diseases. It is hoped that the Legislature and the administration during the various special and interim sessions will see fit to allow medical cannabis to have the widest possible impact on the health of our citizenry.
Currently, we are also still suffering the worst effects of the opioid epidemic in our nation. On average, the legalization of medical cannabis has statistically caused a 28.4% reduction in opioid addiction and death. We would be ill-advised to not utilize this highly effective tool to save the most vulnerable of our state.
Gregory A. Wingo