The West Virginia House passed legislation limiting testing of medicinal marijuana to only two businesses, and the Senate will review it.
House Bill 4627 has been passed by a vote of 67 to 33 and was sent to the Senate. The bill is sponsored by Republican Del. Brandon Steel.
The bill is intended to ensure that the two corporations investing in medicinal marijuana testing at the Department of Health and Human Resources see a return on their investment.
However, some skeptics have observed that the bill would also eliminate the opportunity for other possible testing businesses.
West Virginia has legalized medical marijuana as of 2019. However, recreational marijuana has not been permitted in the state.
On Wednesday, the chamber considered the ideas, rejected multiple GOP-sponsored changes, and carried them to third reading. Now, MPs have unanimously approved the referendum and implementation measures, sending them to the Senate by votes of 96-34 and 92-37, respectively.
“We are at the start of a critical process in which we will reexamine how we have treated this substance, cannabis,” said Del. Luke Clippinger (D), the bill’s sponsor before of the floor vote.
He said that politicians should reconsider the “thousands of people we have imprisoned” for marijuana use, claiming that “those thousands of incarcerations have not made us safer.”
Clippinger is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which last week recommended passage of the measures. He also chaired a marijuana workgroup convened last summer by House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D) to explore the matter.