Locals gather for Pro-Cannabis Rally

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UPSHUR COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) - "I think it should be legalized straight across the board," says Buckhannon resident Missy O'Keefe.

Pro-cannabis rallies were held across the state today, and these rallies are a reaction to Charleston.

"At the end of this last session, HB 4345 was actually killed out. Tim Armstead sat on it, it never got moved forward and then we had the banking issues, after which Gov. Justice went through and pulled the funding for the program" explains the founder of the West Virginia Pro-Cannabis Movement Amanda Vezinat.

House Bill 4345 would increase the number of growers, processors, and dispensaries in the state, something that some people feel West Virginia wants.

"This is something that the state of West Virginia wants. I know there is still going to be some that don't want it, but we do need people that have to have a healthier and better way to medicate" says Vezinat.

Vezinat says that the West Virginia pro-cannabis movement is really fighting for the legalization of medical cannabis, she explains that people in the state need a healthier alternative to prescription drugs.

"My son, he's ADHD, ODD, observational defiance disorder, and I think it would be much more beneficial for him to have a legal, healthy source of medication than to take methamphetamine," says Buckhannon resident John Gear.

But even more than just for medical purposes, Gear goes on to explain that recreational cannabis can help the state financially.

"You'll create an economy that can help West Virginia and believe me, we're 50th in almost everything," says Gear.

While others aren't so sure that legalizing recreational marijuana is good for a state that's already battling a drug epidemic.

"I work at a facility, part of a rehabilitation center, that if I would ask those young men and women, who are ages 18-24 if marijuana is a gateway drug, I think unanimously they would say yes it is. It puts them in environments where they would not normally be" says Pastor at the Christian Fellowship Church in Buckhannon Ed McDaniels.