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The West Virginia Capitol Building in Huntington, West Virginia.

Sonja

A West Virginia bill to legalize medical cannabis passed the Senate and has been fast-tracked through a first reading in the House of Delegates, the Herald-Dispatch reports. The measure passed the Senate 28-6 on Wednesday – on Thursday, Republican Del. Michael Folk motioned to skip sending the bill to House committees for consideration which supporters said would have been a death sentence for the measure this late in the session.

Folk’s motion passed the House 54-40, allowing it to move to a second reading and making it eligible for amendments today.

Opponents against the motion argued that moving the bill forward without a committee hearing was reckless and would prevent the medical cannabis framework from being implemented in a responsible manner, if approved. Delegates indicated that they had been inundated with constituent calls about the bill.

“Like every member of this body, I can’t count the number of emails and phone calls I received on this subject today,” Del. Mike Pushkin, a Democrat, said in the report.

The measure, based on Maryland’s medical cannabis law, would allow patients with approved conditions to access medical cannabis in the state, and allow them to grow up to two plants in their homes. The measure would set up a Medical Marijuana Commission, which would need to file its first report – before the program could be rolled out – in September 2018.

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