Marijuana: The Answer to a Gloomy Economy?
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on November 22, 2012 @ 10:38PM
Created on November 22, 2012 @ 5:54PM
5 News told you that election night made history. Two states legalized marijuana and another was added to the list of states that use it for medical purposes. Not a single person from our area wanted to go on camera but many wanted to talk about it. A majority feel marijuana remains illegal for political reasons, and it should be legalized. Others said it's illegal for a reason, but after learning how much money it could generate, many understand why it's such a big issue.
"Marijuana has never caused me a problem in my life - and I chose to use it at the advice of doctors," explained Ken Robidoux, who's epileptic.
But how safe is it? Studies show cannabis is actually ranked one of the least harmful drugs. It does less physical harm and has a smaller dependence than tobacco, alcohol and some of your most common prescription drugs. Dr. Paul Clancy, an emergency room physician, said there's fewer side effects for most people with cannabis than there are with opiates.
A college professor and business owner said marijuana is a life saver. After taking medications prescribed to him by doctors, he gained 120 pounds, his intestines shut down and later exploded. He was put in the ICU at Mon General where doctors saved his life.
Delegate Mike Manypenny is fighting for medical marijuana in our state. "Substance abuse costs the state of West Virginia $2 billion a year in direct and indirect costs. By implementing a compassionate use medical marijuana bill in West Virginia, would free up law enforcement to look into and investigate and prosecute more serious crimes," explained Manypenny.
Using Oregon as an example, they now charge $200 for a medical marijuana card. In eight months that generated $7.5 million for the state. A Harvard study estimates that if they legalized recreational marijuana it would pump in $140 million a year, while saving $60 million. The savings being related to law enforcement.
"I really don't see a down side to passing Manypenny's bill. I think it should be passed as soon as possible," said Dr. Clancy.
Under federal law, marijuana remains illegal. The Drug Enforcement Agency continues to raid and arrest dispensary workers across the country. Even though the DEA's chief administrator and Senator Joe Manchin agree it should be between a doctor and patient to make the decision - neither of them are for the idea.
"Any revenue that comes from people getting addicted is the wrong type of revenue that we shouldn't need," said Sen. Manchin. "I just think it's wrong from that standpoint. I would hope the state of West Virginia would choose to protect it's people."
85% of viewers that participated in our last Facebook Poll Question feel medical marijuana should become a reality in our state. Now 5 News wants to know how you feel about recreational marijuana. Head to our Facebook page and cast your vote.
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