West Virginia Senate approves edible medical marijuana

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would add edible marijuana products, like gummies and brownies, to the state’s medical cannabis law.

Wednesday’s vote came years after edibles were removed from the original 2017 medical cannabis bill due to concerns over who could get ahold of and use the products, said lead sponsor Sen. Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell). That was still the main concern voiced by lawmakers who did not support the bill.

“There are no gummy bears,” Woelfel said about this new proposal. “It’s not going to be anything that is immediately attractive to children. We have tried to cover our bases, but at the same time help the people of our state that do deserve and need the medical treatment that this will provide.”

The bill will not allow medical marijuana products shaped like humans, animals or fruits. It also prevents anything that may entice a child.

Woelfel decided to introduce this legislation after hearing from veterans about their need for chronic pain relief due to serious diseases, including cancer. He said the edible marijuana is much easier to take and provides greater benefits.

That’s the same trend Kristal Reeves has seen at Purple Leaf Cannabis Dispensary in South Charleston, where she is opening a new store next month that focuses on edible marijuana products due to increased demand.

“Some people who do not want to consume cannabis through smoking or even the texture of an oil, edibles are their go to,” Reeves said. “It’s because of the long lasting effects as well as the taste.”

Reeves said cannabis absorbed into the body by eating takes longer to process, so it can provide all day pain and anxiety relief. The most common forms are gummies, chocolate bars, and fudge. These products are normally locked away within the store, so children can’t reach them, and have warnings to prevent someone from accidently eating them.

“You want to make sure the labeling is correct on any type of edible so that children do not consume it,” Reeves said about securing Delta-8 THC and other products. “That it is stored away from children, and it is not appealing to children as well.”

Woelfel said this bill is a step in the right direction towards helping people treat their medical conditions, and while it has provided an economic boost to the state, that was not the main focus.

“If the medical cannabis rolls out in a tight way, in a way that doesn’t allow product to leak out into the community,” Woelfel said. “If we do that, that may open the door to recreational cannabis.”

The bill now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.

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