Letter to the Editor published April 29th, 2019 in the Charleston Gazette-Mail
It is high past time to legalize cannabis in West Virginia. In recent years in Charleston there has been a push to legalize medical cannabis, which is a step in the right direction, but nowhere near where our laws should be. Leadership in the state is staunchly against recreational use, which is a mistake. For years now we have been plagued with the opioid crisis and revenue problems. We all recognize the problems we have, but we need real solutions. Legalizing cannabis can help solve both problems. First, we need to challenge the stigma. Cannabis is much more than just a plant – it is a treatment for cancer, a job creator, and yes something used for recreation. Even if you put its medical and revenue uses aside, recreationally there is no reason it should be illegal for adult usage, after all our state motto is Montani Semper Liberi. People in our communities are dying at ever increasing rates from not only opioids, but heroin and fentanyl. Cannabis could save these lives. We are also wasting money on trying to police possession of a plant. Instead we should focus attention on criminals who are a danger to others. Taxing cannabis can provide the state with some much-needed revenue. Maybe then we could pay our teachers a decent salary or fix our pot hole epidemic. We could be a leader in something for once, imagine that.