At a time when the state is reviewing the overcrowding of the state's jail and prison system with people possessing illegal drugs like marijuana, Dr. Paul Clancy of Spencer makes a case for medical marijuana in West Virginia

By Dr. Paul Clancy

Delegate Mike Manypenny has again introduced a bill into the West Virginia legislature allowing for the medical use of marijuana, HB 4498.

It currently languishes in the Health and Human Resources committee, whose members are probably hoping it will quietly go away. This bill would allow possession of up to 6 oz. usable marijuana and permit cultivation of up to 12 mature plants per patient.

It would provide for the establishment of about 5 licensed nonprofit dispensaries where cannabis could be purchased. This bill should be passed into law quickly, as it is obviously cruel, wasteful and hypocritical to imprison users of medical marijuana.

Cannabis is not for everyone, but it does have a long history of efficacy and safety in a myriad of conditions, including pain, nausea, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, HIV, depression, anxiety, dysmenorrhea, PTSD, addiction, cachexia, insomnia, Tourette's syndrome, agitation, Inflammatory bowel disease, stress management, seizures, and many, many others.

Some of these probably don't seem like any big deal to you if you are fortunate enough not to be suffering from them.

Other treatment options do exist for all these conditions; these options are often associated with quality concerns, looming supply shortages, toxic side effects, and always, expense.

Home cultivation of one's medicine would attenuate these issues and likely have financial, physical and psychological advantages.

Opponents of medical cannabis have some valid concerns, among them impaired driving. After Colorado legalized medical marijuana, they enjoyed a 9% reduction in motor vehicle accidents.

You may think medical marijuana sends the wrong message to children, but what message is sent by incarcerating their parents or grandparents?

Dispensaries card, dealers don't.

Legal dispensaries and grows will shrink the profits, and the number of illegal dealers.

Is smoking marijuana really medicine?

Glamorous it's not but it is the most effective way of titrating one's dose to the desired effect, hence the relative unpopularity of Marinol, synthetic THC in pill form.

Smoking marijuana has been definitively shown not to cause COPD or cancer, unlike legal tobacco. A recent Kaiser Foundation study showed no decrease in life span with decades of chronic use.

Regulating medical cannabis could have some non-medical social and economic benefits as well. Employment for some hard to employ West Virginians.

Restructuring law enforcement priorities towards more dangerous crime. Reducing adolescent access to the drug. A boost to our struggling small farms.

A reduction in interpersonal violence. Politicians, don't think that supporting this bill will cost you votes-medical marijuana is much more popular than any of you are.

If you would like to see West Virginia join the states with legal medical cannabis please let Health and Human Resources committee chairman delegate Don Perdue know. Prohibition cannot continue.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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