History of CBD and Cannabis: West Virginia
Even though medical marijuana was legalized in 2017, West Virginia departments have been very slow to actually enact any regulatory framework around the new policy. In July, officials from the Department of Agriculture and health departments stated that they were years away from ever having their first legal marijuana sales.
Despite the new bill setting strong deadlines for early 2018, the first valid marijuana cardholders couldn’t even register until mid-August of this year. West Virginia is far from the only state that’s come to a standstill after cannabis reform.
In fact, the blame doesn’t merely lie with the state. Historic federal law and a backlog of local complexities prevent the state from finding legal financial solutions. In West Virginia, banks are unwilling to lend to marijuana companies as it can cause legal trouble on the federal level.
Cannabis, CBD, and West Virginia
Between 2010 and 2015, new medical marijuana and cannabis reform policies were introduced to the state legislature every year. Some of these movements failed to reach the level of support needed to get out of committee, while others were shot down at the last moment before a decision could be reached during the vote.
By 2017, a surprising “dark horse” bill finally legalized medical marijuana for specific sets of terminal illnesses and chronic conditions. Currently, regulatory agencies are working on hiring staff, finding financial institutions that fit requirements for funding dispensaries, and funding construction for new offices.
A large part of the reason for the policy’s slowness owes itself to the state’s historical attitudes towards marijuana consumption.
In the early twentieth century, the growing rate of cannabis use among American youth was a cause of concern for many. Nationwide, media reports posited that high profile crimes were caused under the influence of “Indian hemp” or marijuana. Soon enough, cannabis came to be associated with violence, laziness, insanity, and family problems.
West Virginia was no exception. Hemp and marijuana grew wildly along moist riverbeds and in the state’s humid climate, prompting concern among state officials. Before the thirties, cannabis was completely outlawed as a wave of Eastern states tightened marijuana restrictions.
Throughout the course of the twentieth century, penalties just grew more restrictive. State and federal law classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no potential for therapeutic effect on the user. Penalties for mere possession continued to get steeper while law enforcement targeted primarily poor communities.
Modernly, the struggle for the legal recognition of cannabis has required a significant overhaul of historic policy decisions made on both the local and federal levels.