By Anthony Martinelli

An amended version of a medical marijuana legalization bill that recently passed West Virginia’s Senate has received approval from the House of Delegates.

An amended version of Senate Bill 386 was passed by the House of Delegates today through its second reading. The measure recently passed the full Senate with a 28 to 6 vote. It will now need to be passed through one more reading in the House, before being sent back to the Senate now that it’s been amended. If it passes the Senate again it will go to the desk of Governor Jim Justice, who is supportive of medical cannabis.

Initially, the measure would have legalized medical cannabis for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician and register with the state. The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission would have been established to oversee a system of licensed and regulated medical cannabis dispensaries, which would have been supplied by cannabis cultivation centers.

The amended version prohibits actually smoking cannabis, leading patients to rely on methods such as pills and topicals. It also severely limits the number of dispensaries allowed throughout the state. The vote to amend the bill was 51 to 48. Delegate Mike Pushkin introduced an amendment to the amendment that would have again allowed medical marijuana to be smoked, but it was voted down 46 to 51.

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