West Virginia Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley) introduced a bill today that would allow state residents with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to grow and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The bill, known as SB 546, would establish a state-regulated system of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to licensed patients. The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Kessler (D-Glen Dale) and Senate Majority Whip Daniel Hall (R-Oceana), has been introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources.

“Marijuana has proven effective in treating a number of serious medical conditions and is far safer than many currently prescribed medications,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “No one deserves to be treated like a criminal for using marijuana to treat a serious medical condition.

“West Virginians deserve the chance to use this medicine if their doctors think that it will help,” Simon said. “It’s time to stop criminalizing patients for using a treatment option that can dramatically improve their quality of life.”

Twenty-three states, Guam, and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow people with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

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The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.