By Lexi Browning
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The probability and potential consequences of West Virginia’s Legislature legalizing marijuana this year brought out vastly differing opinions Friday at the 2017 AP Press Legislative Lookahead.
A panel consisting of W.Va. Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha; John “Ed” Shemelya, national coordinator of National Marijuana Initiative; Jim Wilson, executive director of The Gatehouse in Elkins; Danny Bragg of WV Green is the New Black; and Lt. Eric Johnson of the Charleston Police Department, discussed marijuana with more than 40 members of the state’s media at the AP’s annual preview for the state’s annual legislative session. Matt Burdette, executive editor of The Inter-Mountain in Elkins, moderated the discussion.
The marijuana panel was the first of four discussions on the day.
Del. Pushkin said the state’s substance abuse epidemic as well as his personal experiences dealing with long-term recovery issues inspired him to run for office in 2014. Pushkin said he proposed the legalization of medical marijuana in 2016 to promote conversation on the possibility of collecting revenue from the legal marijuana industry.
“[Marijuana] is bought