Commission to leave medical marijuana growth & distribution up to voters

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PRESTON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)-- The question of medical marijuana growth and distribution in Preston County is being discussed as the commission is leaving it up to the voters.

Preston County Commission discusses medical marijuana growth and distribution, leaving it up to voters.

"If people come and start talking to us about it then we will decide if we want to put it on the ballot or not," said County Commissioner Don Smith.

According to the commission the county has received calls from people questioning if it's prohibited. With the legalization of medical marijuana in the state, people can apply for a permit before it might even hit that ballot.

"We have had a few people call us that have inquired whether or not it would be ok to apply for a permit, at this time yes it is," said Smith.

Smith says if someone has a permit prior to it being on the ballot then according to code that person is still in business. However, if it were to be up to voters in the near future some say they'd vote yes and some say they'd vote no.

"I think that it's something that should be allowed in the county. The medical benefits of marijuana have been known by a lot of people for a long time," said resident, Michael Neel.

"Preston County has a huge drug problem already and I don't understand how growing marijuana would help any," said another resident, Bruce Wiley.

Smith says in the debate of medical marijuana and it's good and bad qualities that he stands firm saying it is useful for many people.

"It's helped with cancer patients, it's helped with PTSD. There's a lot of studies out there that say it's not necessarily a bad thing," said Smith.

Wiley, however, disagrees saying during his time in Vietnam he's seen it first hand not helping those in need.

"I never saw where it helped the troops. A lot of the boys used it."

Smith says until people show support in having a vote a decision won't be made. For Neel, he wants to see his community grow even if that does mean it can be grown and distributed.

"I'm interested in doing things that are actually beneficial to the residents of Preston County,"

Smith says if enough people want the option to vote on this it would be on the next regular ballot instead of in a special election.