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West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signs the Medical Cannabis Act.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gave an impassioned speech yesterday before signing the state’s new medical cannabis regime into law, saying “it took real bravery” on behalf of Del. Michael Folk “to stand up and to say, ‘No, the people – the people – need to be heard.’”

Folk, a Republican, pushed the West Virginia Cannabis Act to a full House floor vote when it appeared lawmakers were going to kick the bill to two committees; supporters said the double committee hearing would have been a “death sentence” for the measure.

“Lo and behold the people did get heard,” Justice, a Democrat, said during the signing ceremony. “You see, I’m a real believer that if you’re going to be a legislator you can’t let your religious, or your racial, or whatever beliefs that you have transcend beyond you. You have to first and foremost rise above that and you’ve got to be a legislator first and foremost.”

Justice said the bill had only reached his desk because Folk had “taken that big step.”

“How can 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 gonna do that’,” he said. “Well, to me, that’s not listening to the wise and it’s not being charitable and caring like we ought to be.”

Here is a quick look at the exact moment when Gov. Justice signed the law – the happiness on his face is undisguisable.

Folk was not present at the ceremony, but Justice was joined by the lead sponsor of the Senate bill Sen. Richard Ojeda.

“No matter what we do there is a name attached to it – there is a family attached to it – and we know that,” Justice said before putting the pen to paper. “I think we’re doing good stuff.”

Patient cards are expected to begin being issued on July 1, 2019. West Virginia is the 29th state to legalize medical cannabis.

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