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House Democrats Attempt to Evade Committee Process with Marijuana Amendment

Perry Bennet
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton.

Democrats in the House of Delegates Thursday attempted to change the scheduling classification of marijuana so it could be prescribed by doctors.

House Bill 2526 focuses on adding drugs to the state’s scheduling system, a classification of both prescription and illicit drugs. These classifications are referred to as Schedule I, II, IV, and V.

Schedule I drugs are substances seen as having no medicinal purposes and cannot be prescribed by a doctor. These are illegal substances, like heroin or cocaine.

Marijuana is currently a Schedule I substance. Democrats attempted to change that classification to allow doctors to prescribe it in West Virginia.

Democrat Isaac Sponaugle from Pendleton County, a sponsor of the amendment, argued 28 other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

“The people are with this issue," Sponaugle said, "Sixty-some percent of West Virginians are tired; they want this legislative body to act.”

A handful of Republicans spoke in favor of the amendment, but it ultimately failed 35 to 64.

So far this legislative session, two bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to legalize medical marijuana in the state. One has bi-partisan support. Neither bills have been heard by any committees.

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