West Virginia would allow five medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop under a tentative proposal floated Wednesday during a legislative committee meeting.
Supporters are still crafting the actual legislation, meaning the bill eventually introduced in the legislature could look somewhat different. But the idea outlined at the committee meeting offers the first real peek at what the final legislation could look like.
Charles Roskovensky, chief counsel for the House Committee on Health and Human Resources, said the bill would let patients with cancer, glaucoma and other ailments possess up to six ounces of marijuana, according to the Centre Daily Times. The state would license and regulate up to five “compassion centers” that could sell cannabis to registered patients.
Capping the number of dispensaries has become a common feature of MMJ legislation in recent years, with states like Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and Nevada limiting the size of the industry.
Previously, most states didn’t specifically craft regulations on dispensaries (such as California, Michigan, Oregon, etc.), while one – Colorado – put in place strict rules but didn’t set numerical limits.
A previous bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia stalled in the House earlier this year before even reaching a vote, despite strong support from the public (a recent poll found that 53% of voters back MMJ legalization). It marked the third consecutive time the lawmakers killed a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
Industry lobbyists view West Virginia as a bubble state when it comes to medical marijuana legislation. They are hopeful but say it could go either way.