New Bill Introduced to West Virginia Senate for the Decriminalization of Marijuana
West Virginia is in the middle of a booming medical marijuana program and getting access to medical marijuana is an easy process in the state. Patients with a qualifying condition can apply for a medical marijuana certification in West Virginia, and once approved, begin legally purchasing cannabis in the state.
But new legislation introduced to West Virginia aims to lessen the penalties for possession of cannabis altogether, where currently possessing cannabis without a certification will guarantee you at least 90 days of jail time.
West Virginia has some harsh penalties for carrying cannabis without a legal certification, and in this article we’ll cover the bills being introduced to change how West Virginia pursues cannabis possession, and talk about the state of West Virginia decriminalization efforts.
Current Cannabis Possession Laws in West Virginia
Possession of Cannabis Incurs Steep Penalties Without a Card
West Virginia has some of the tightest and most restrictive laws on cannabis possession in the country.
Without a legal medical marijuana certification, possessing less than 15 grams of cannabis will land you a misdemeanor with a minimum of 90 days incarceration (up to 6 months) and a maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense.
In some cases, first time offenders may be able to swap incarceration for probation and drug testing, but the law is jail time.
If you happen to possess over 15 grams of cannabis without a certification in West Virginia, you’re looking at a steep felony with between 1 to 5 years of in-state prison time, and a fine up to $10,000.
Voters have Shut Down Decriminalization Efforts in the Past
Voters failed to pass decriminalization efforts in 2019, but that was before the installation of dispensaries and the regular sale of cannabis goods for medical patients. This year, the focus is on decriminalizing cannabis alongside the medical marijuana program, which should be a no-brainer for voters.
Having a robust medical marijuana program right next to some of the harshest penalties for cannabis legalization puts a lot into perspective for legislators and voters alike. It doesn’t take too much effort to realize guaranteed jail time for a plant that can be used legally with the right paperwork feels a bit off.
Bills to Introduce Decriminalization in West Virginia for 2022
House Bill 2060
HB2060 looks to turn possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis without a certification from a misdemeanor with a minimum of 90 days guaranteed jail time and up to $1,000 fine into a misdemeanor with a maximum of 72 hours in a detention facility and a fine of $500.
While this lowers the bar for maximum penalties, they’re still steep. Many states with medical marijuana programs offer smaller fines, especially for first time offenders, and most states with medical marijuana programs look to have no required jail time.
HB2060 offers a quaint approach to slightly reconfigure how West Virginia jails its cannabis consumers, but unfortunately it misses the mark on effective decriminalization that makes a significant difference.
Senate Bill 85 Offers an Alternative, Better Option
Senate Bill 85 looks to remove the misdemeanor and jail time altogether, making possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis a civil offense with a maximum fine of $25.
As opposed to jail time, misdemeanors, and fines of hundreds to thousands of dollars, SB85 takes a far more down-to-earth approach to cannabis decriminalization.
Considering the burden on state departments, police departments, and prison systems, making possession of 15 grams or less a civil offense rather than a criminal misdemeanor can make a huge difference in a person’s criminal record, which can affect their entire future.
As opposed to sending people behind bars for holding less than a half-ounce of a plant, this proposal sounds much closer to decriminalization that makes a real impact on the community.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Certification in West Virginia
West Virginia offers legal access to medical-grade cannabis with an official medical marijuana certification. You can get your medical marijuana certification in West Virginia online from the comfort of your own home, and begin purchasing and using cannabis legally in 2022!
Take the steps to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation appointment today and get access to legal marijuana products available at dispensaries!
Being a West Virginia medical marijuana patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you. We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 877-303-8424 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia.
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If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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