WHEELING — Some Ohio County health officials are concerned that implementation of West Virginia’s medical cannabis law next year may serve as a gateway to legalization of recreational marijuana.
State legislators have said action on recreational marijuana isn’t expected in the 60-day regular session that began Wednesday. However, Dr. John Holloway, chairman of the Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health, and county health officer Dr. William Mercer on Tuesday said legalization of marijuana for recreational usage often follows laws that allow the drug to be prescribed for medicinal purposes.
Medical cannabis won’t be available for prescription in West Virginia until July 2019. The state Bureau for Public Health is drafting temporary rules to implement the medical cannabis act that was adopted by the Legislature in April 2017.
Holloway said medical marijuana “is simply a back door for recreational use.”
Mercer agreed, citing examples from other states such as Colorado and California. He said, “Recreational (legalization) follows everywhere in two years. That’s the big concern.”
Holloway also criticized the use of medical marijuana in general. He said justification for “medical use comes