On the Legislature Today, members of the House Finance Committee consider two bills that would help balance the 2018 budget, one to lower the overall sales tax rate while getting rid of some exemptions, the other to capture some dollars from the state's Road Fund and increase the beer barrel tax.
Across the rotunda in a Senate committee, members have advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, allowing doctors to prescribe the illegal drug for medicinal use.
Each legislative session, the state’s Constitutional Officers, or the heads of government offices who are elected by the people, bring their priorities to lawmakers and ask for support for various legislative changes.
This year, newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt is hoping to change the structure of government, expand a growing program that’s been controversial in some parts of the country, and incentivize the purchasing of West Virginia-grown products.
Hemp, known in the scientific community as cannabis sativa, is a cousin to the more commonly known marijuana, but unlike its medicinally and recreationally used relative, hemp does not contain any THC- a mind-altering ingredient.
So, throughout the nation's history, hemp has been used more practically. It's often turned into fibers used in fabrics or rope or pressed into oils, but the plant itself is still considered a schedule one drug, meaning law enforcement treats it just like they would heroin or Ecstasy.
On this West Virginia Morning, Managing Editor of the magazine West Virginia Living Zack Harold discussing his latest article, "High Hopes for a New Cash Crop," focused on the state's budding hemp industry. The article appears in the latest edition of Morgantown Magazine and he joined Ashton Marra to discuss it reporting.