Supporters of Manypenny's bill include the West Virginia Nurses Association and physicians Dr. Dan Foster, a former state senator from Charleston, and Dr. Paul Clancy, an emergency physician in Spencer.
Marijuana can help many people with medical troubles, Manypenny believes, including children with life epilepsy. He referred to an Eastern Panhandle family that has taken a child back and forth between Colorado and West Virginia for treatment. "Those kids usually don't live more than five years," he said.
Speakers at the Sept. 25 meeting will include Karmen Hamson, a representative from Colorado on the National Conference of State Legislatures, who has become a specialist on medical marijuana laws across the country, and Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project and a West Virginia University graduate.
Manypenny said Simon "will discuss how the bill I introduced will regulate medical marijuana within the borders of West Virginia."
In an interview with the Gazette-Mail, Simon called Holder's announcement "a big development. It adds clarity to state legislators who want to reform state marijuana laws and make sure their efforts won't be thwarted by federal prosecutors.
"It will clarify the situations in the 20 states that have already made medical marijuana legal and for the two states that have also made marijuana legal for adult recreational use," Simon said. "For people who live in the other 28 states [including West Virginia], it gives their state legislators more confidence they have the authority to change marijuana laws.
"The message from the administration seems to be that, as long as states regulate their marijuana programs the right way, there will not be federal interference."
A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and released in January on the Marijuana Policy Project website, found state voters favor reform legislation by 53 percent to 40 percent.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.