The West Virginia Silver-Haired Legislature, a group of over-60 “legislators”, with support of the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, held a three day session in the Capitol in Charleston, WV last week. The Silver-Haired Legislature was created in 1981 as a way for West Virginians 60 years and older to discuss and debate important issues and present their findings and publish position papers on a variety of topics.
Delegate Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) was one of the lawmakers who spoke to the group during their sessions and was interested in a position paper the group adopted urging that marijuana be legalized and taxed and that proceeds go towards drug-rehabilitation programs and reforming the prison system.
Delegate Manypenny has been the lead sponsor on legislation in the House of Delegates regarding the legalization of medical marijuana over the past three years. He was pleased to see the group, which represent an important cross section of West Virginians, discussing such diverse issues and thinking progressively.
“While I have been advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana in the West Virginia Legislature, I am very interested in seeing the reaction to this position paper,” said Delegate Manypenny. “They applied the same taxing mechanism on their product that we have proposed on the medical marijuana to help fight substance abuse through treatment programs in the community and drug prevention programs in our schools. We have also talked to a lot of law enforcement officers about this of which many support the legalization of medical marijuana as an alternative to opiate medications!”
The position paper points out that 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes since 1996, and these laws do not appear to have caused any serious social problems. It goes on to say that voters in the states of Colorado and Washington have taken the next step recently and made marijuana legal for all adults 21 and over.
The position paper about marijuana legalization also points out that in many cases, it (marijuana) is a more effective and less dangerous option than pharmaceutical drugs and this proposed reform would make it possible for adults battling illnesses to access marijuana safely and legally, without having to deal with an illicit market dominated by criminals.
“I am very encouraged by their forward thinking and their progressive stance on this, because this reaches all spectrums of society. I really enjoyed speaking to them,” Manypenny said. “I will continue to advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana during the upcoming 2014 Regular session!”
For more information please contact Delegate Mike Manypenny at 304-340-3139 or 304- 677-0379