"There is no excuse for not giving this issue a proper hearing," Tvert said.
Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said, "People with diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis who might benefit from medical marijuana take this issue very seriously, and they expect their elected officials to take it very seriously, as well.
"It would be unconscionable to deny a hearing on this bill again," said Simon, who was born in West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia University.
"There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating the benefits medical marijuana can provide to people suffering from a variety of debilitating medical conditions," he said.
The Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis, or House Bill 2230, would allow patients who suffer from specific debilitating medical conditions to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
The proposed law would also create five tightly regulated centers in the state to provide patients with reliable access to medical marijuana.
Those patients also would have the option of cultivating up to 12 marijuana plants in their own homes.
"A majority of West Virginia voters want to see the state take a more sensible and compassionate approach to medical marijuana," Simon said.
Today, 18 states and Washington, D.C., already allow patients with serious medical problems to use medical marijuana approved by their physicians.
Lawmakers in 12 other states have introduced similar legislation this year, and proposed legislation is expected in an additional seven states, Simon said.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.