UPDATE: Mayor says city of Beckley could soon follow Raleigh County in approving medical cannabis ordinance

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UPDATE: Jan. 15, 2020 6:30 p.m.: BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Raleigh County commissioners voted to approve a medical cannabis ordinance on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, and the city of Beckley plans to follow suit.

Beckley Mayor Robert Rappold said he is confident city council will adopt a medical cannabis ordinance.

“It’s coming, it’s important, it can be a revenue producer, it can be good for our citizens,” said Rappold.

It would allow medical cannabis organizations to operate within city limits. This comes after Raleigh County commissioners voted to approve the same ordinance. If city council approves, both county and city code will align with the WV Medical Cannabis Act which passed in 2017.

“There’s a limited number, as I understand, of permits that will be issued throughout the state, and Beckley is geographically and otherwise properly located to take advantage of that,” said Rappold.

Rappold said by making city laws comply with state code, they are sending a message to these companies that they are welcome in Beckley. Rappold said he was contacted by representation from cannabis companies in the midwest who already have their eyes on Beckley.

“They feel like Beckley is a very logical location due to its proximity to the highways,” said Rappold.

Counties and municipalities, aren’t required to adopt these ordinances, but Rappold said not doing so could deter these companies from setting up shop in the area.

“It would make their process more difficult,” said Rappold. “Again, I’m fairly confident that we’ll get this done.”

The ordinance will have to go through the city planning commission first to prepare proper zoning regulations before city council can vote.

Rappold and City Attorney, William File, are looking over Charleston’s ordinance to model Beckley’s. The ordinance strictly applies to medical cannabis in its approved forms by the Bureau for Public Health.

ORIGINAL: Jan. 14, 2020 7:15 p.m. BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The City of Beckley could soon pass a similar ordinance to the one approved by Raleigh County commission on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.

Local attorney, Stephen New, provided a cannabis ordinance to the city of Beckley. New said it de-criminalizes the growth and sale of medical marijuana. This would make city laws comply with state law regarding medical marijuana.

Much like the county ordinance, New said this would be an economic development tool.

“Companies that are already established in other states where the growth of medical cannabis is legal, those companies want to locate here to do business, they want to do so without the fear of being prosecuted on either city or county basis,” said New.

New said he is in contact with out-of-state medical cannabis companies who are interested in our area. The ordinance still needs to be reviewed by city council and introduced before it can go to a vote.

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