A West Virginia delegate said Friday he’d like to see lawmakers discuss legalizing medical marijuana, despite the House speaker’s recent declaration that such legislation won’t gain a foothold this year.
During a panel discussion at the West Virginia Associated Press Legislative Lookahead, Kanawha County Democrat Mike Pushkin cited the potential medical benefits of marijuana and the state’s current budget crisis as reasons why West Virginia should join 28 other states that have comprehensive medical marijuana programs.
Gov. Jim Justice said during the 2016 election campaign that he is open to legalizing medical marijuana. But House Speaker Tim Armstead said Thursday the time isn’t right, because President Donald Trump’s administration will likely take a harder line against it.
Last year the House of Delegates tabled a bill that would have lengthened prison terms for people bringing medical marijuana into the state. In 2015, a bill introduced by current Senate President Mitch Carmichael to allow medical marijuana use did not survive.
The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy estimates the state could raise an estimated $45 million in taxes and save $17 million annually on