While a significant number of states having approved medical marijuana, a few having legalized marijuana, and others reducing prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders, Republican-led WV legislators have pushed a bill to lengthen the prison sentence of offenders that bring drugs into the state from five to fifteen years.

WV has among the highest incarceration rates in the USA, mostly related to non-violent drug offenders.

A West Virginia lawmaker said it was difficult for him, but necessary, to detail his own positive experience with medical marijuana in order to help defeat a bill that would have lengthened prison terms.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail says that Republican Delegate Bill Flanigan of Morgantown was visibly frustrated as he gave his first speech on the West Virginia House of Delegates floor against the bill.

Flanigan says medical marijuana provided him essential benefits while he was going through chemotherapy, even though he still feels a lingering guilt that he was using a drug that is illegal in the state.

After the speech, the bill was tabled by a 59 to 40 vote.

REST OF STORY   WV delegate's first speech, on medical marijuana, hits home   By Erin Beck, Staff Writer for the Gazette-Mail

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