Sincere Condolences

Christopher Selwyn Hale, 45, of Beckley, passed away Saturday, June 25, 2017.
He was born April 15, 1972 in Washington, D.C. to Bernard W. Hale and Joan Urband Hale and raised in Berea, Kentucky. He attended Brooks School in N. Andover, Massachusetts and graduated from Berea Community School and then attended Berea College. He was raised in the Catholic faith.
He is survived by his parents Bernard W. Hale, Beckley, WV; Joan Urband Hale of Louisville, Ky and brothers Matthew Hale (formerly of Beckley), and Augustine Hale, of Louisville, uncle Kevin B.Hale, Wood Dale Il. and Kustan family in Florida.
He was recently employed by the Beckley Newspapers. He was the Founder and Chair of Friends of Water, current Chair of the Environmental Committee and Board Member, Executive Committee for The Sierra Club of West Virginia, served as first Chair of the Mountain Party Environmental Justice Committee, worked with Citizens Climate Control and West Virginia Minerals Coalition and was a volunteer group leader for Citizens Climate Lobby for Southern West Virginia and has done work that has positively affected the lives of thousands through the social media-based group he founded which has encouraged citizen action in the area of public health.
He was a talented musician and had performed in Kentucky, Nashville, Louisville, St. Augustine, Savannah, Atlanta and other cities. He had previously worked in the hotel management business, in coal mine security and white water rafting related business. The response of so many people to his family is a testament to the public advocacy work in which he was involved.
A Memorial Mass was held 11 a.m. Saturday, July 1 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church with Very Rev. Paul Wharton, V.F. officiating. Among those who attended were former Executive Chairs of the Mountain Party Charlotte Pritt and Elyse Keaton, along with current Executive Chair Jesse Johnson and his mother Fannie Elmore.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be sent to the Chris Hale Memorial Fund c/o Calfee Funeral Home, 800 S. Oakwood Ave., Beckley, WV 25801.
The State Executive Committee for the West Virginia Mountain Party offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Chris Hale. May God give him eternal rest and his family the strength to bear the great pain.
Additional online condolences may be left for the family at

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The Devil is in the Details…

This morning (March 13, 2017) WV’s Republican Party leaders passed out the following screed to imply that Republicans in both chambers will pay a political price if they dare pass SB 386, by writing:

“West Virginia Republican Party

TO: WV House Republican Members

FROM: West Virginia Republican Party Platform Committee

RE: SB386

DATE: April 3, 2017


…Our platform in Article VII, Section M clearly shows that Senate Bill 386 would be a violation to the platform regarding the legalization of illicit drugs. Article VII, Section M states: “We support those who are practicing drug-abuse prevention efforts at the local and state levels and oppose the normalization, legalization, or decriminalization of any illicit drugs.”


“We work tirelessly to encourage conservative grassroots volunteers to support campaigns for our candidates because of the values we share. Those who work to elect Republicans in West Virginia are conservatives who have been under attack for so long by the Democrat Party they have turned to Republicans for help. It is heartbreaking for our grassroots volunteers to see SB386 on the verge of becoming law.

So we now know that it’s built into the Republican Party Platform that decriminalizing “demon  weed” is plain wrong. Seriously? Even though cannabis can alleviate pain, is far far less addictive than opioid pharmaceuticals, and won’t eventually kill you as a side effect. It is apparently nonetheless a breach of the Republican Party Platform to decriminalize it

Maybe that Platform needs updated based on reality, and Republican “grassroots volunteers” informed of the many studies showing that medical cannabis laws have been positively associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. And that in states where Medical Cannabis laws have been enacted , opioid abuse has decreased as much as 33%.

So the “devil” apparently remains in the details which many Party leaders choose to ignore when cautioning their Statehouse counterparts:

“…as Republicans it is a privilege to represent our platform. In these final days of the legislative session and as you consider SB386, please remember 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be Vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

“We ask our members to vote NO on Senate Bill 386.

FACT: In 2011, 55 percent of drug overdose deaths nationwide were related to prescription medications; 75 percent of those deaths involved opiate painkillers. However, researchers found that opiate-related deaths decreased by approximately 33 percent in 13 states in the following six years after medical marijuana was legalized.

That letter goes far to explain why SB 386 was hijacked by House Speaker Tim Armstead (R- Kanawha), when he incredibly allowed the bill to be diverted by the leader of the House Judiciary Committee, despite the majority of the House having voted to dispense with routing to Committees!

You read that right. A DECISIVE MAJORITY (54-40) of House Delegates of BOTH Parties had voted to fast track WV’s Medical Cannabis bill through the House. Yet that vote was ignored by Speaker Armstead when John Schott (R – Mercer, 27), apparently formed a clandestine non-committee committee to thwart that vote.

Jesse Johnson, who has been shepherding SB 386 through this session advises that WV voters who wish to see Medical Cannabis made available to WV’s patients, not to mention our  many veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome should IMMEDIATELY call the following Delegates who voted AYE to respectfully urge that they AGAIN vote AYE to APPROVE SB 386 “AS-IS” with NO FURTHER AMENDMENTS! (D – Greenbrier, 42)

(304) 340-3131 (D – Berkeley, 61)

(304) 340-3188 (D – Raleigh, 30)

(304) 340-3180 (R – Berkeley, 59)

(304) 340-3122 (D – Braxton, 34)

(304) 340-3142 (D – Mason, 13)

(304) 340-3146 (D – Kanawha, 35)

(304) 340-3362 (D – Marshall, 04)

(304) 340-3151 (R – Mingo, 21)

(304) 340-3304 (D – Brooke, 02)

(304) 340-3367 (D – Lincoln, 22)

(304) 340-3113 (D – McDowell, 26)

(304) 340-3165 (D – Marshall, 04)

(304) 340-3111 (D – Monongalia, 51)

(304) 340-3127 (D – Ohio, 03)

(304) 340-3270 (R – Berkeley, 63)

(304) 340-3350 (R – Upshur, 45)

(304) 340-3167 (D – Randolph, 43)

(304) 340-3178 (R – Putnam, 13)

(304) 340-3118 (R – Nicholas, 41)

(304) 340-3352 (D – Cabell, 16)

(304) 340-3395 (D – Harrison, 48)

(304) 340-3102 (D – Randolph, 43)

(304) 340-3145 (R – Kanawha, 35)

(304) 340-3183 (R – Preston, 53)

(304) 340-3396 (D – Marion, 50)

(304) 340-3124 (D – Fayette, 32)

(304) 340-3337 (D – Cabell, 17)

(304) 340-3280 (D – Webster, 44)

(304) 340-3916 (D – Mingo, 20)

(304) 340-3126 (R – Lincoln, 22)

(304) 340-3152 (R – Hancock, 01)

(304) 340-3397 (D – Harrison, 48)

(304) 340-3240

(304) 340-3184 (R – Jefferson, 67)

(304) 340-3248 (D – Raleigh, 29)

(304) 340-3162 (R – Wyoming, 25)

(304) 340-3163 (D – Wetzel, 05)

(304) 340-3158 (I – Logan, 24)

(304) 340-3174 (D – Kanawha, 37)

(304) 340-3106 (D – Monongalia, 51)

(304) 340-3153 (R – Harrison, 48)

(304) 340-3171 (D – Kanawha, 36)

(304) 340-3156 (D – Kanawha, 36)

(304) 340-3287 (D – Pendleton, 55)

(304) 340-3154 (R – Ohio, 03)

(304) 340-3378 (D – Wayne, 19)

(304) 340-3355 (R – Jefferson, 65)

(304) 340-3366 (R – Barbour, 47)

(304) 340-3398 (R – Kanawha, 36)

(304) 340-3138 (D – Monongalia, 51)

(304) 340-3173 (R – Berkeley, 60)

(304) 340-3147 (R – Hancock, 01)

(304) 340-3120


(304) 340-3210 (R – Greenbrier, 42)

(304) 340-3129 (R – Wood, 08)

(304) 340-3168 (R – Raleigh, 31)

(304) 340-3384 (R – Roane, 11)

(304) 340-3185 (R – Mason, 14)

(304) 340-3199 (R – Kanawha, 35)

(304) 340-3340 (R – Summers, 28)

(304) 340-3119 (R – Morgan, 58)

(304) 340-3220 (R – Wood, 10)

(304) 340-3202 (R – Mercer, 27)

(304) 340-3269 (R – Jefferson, 66)

(304) 340-3265 (R – Grant, 54)

(304) 340-3399 (R – Fayette, 32)

(304) 340-3170 (R – Putnam, 15)

(304) 340-3121 (R – Putnam, 38)

(304) 340-3392 (R – Monongalia, 51)

(304) 340-3125 (R – Mercer, 27)

(304) 340-3179 (R – Clay, 33)

(304) 340-3252 (R – Ritchie, 07)

(304) 340-3195 (R – Wirt, 09)

(304) 340-3136 (R – Berkeley, 64)

(304) 340-3274 (R – Mineral, 56)

(304) 340-3192 (R – Wood, 10)

(304) 340-3394 (R – Fayette, 32)

(304) 340-3197 (R – Lewis, 46)

(304) 340-3123 (R – Cabell, 16)

(304) 340-3176 (R – Kanawha, 35)

(304) 340-3230 (R – Raleigh, 28)

(304) 340-3164 (R – Berkeley, 62)

(304) 340-3148 (R – Cabell, 16)

(304) 340-3277 (R – Tyler, 06)

(304) 340-3226 (R – Hampshire, 57)

(304) 340-3157 (R – Mercer, 27)

(304) 340-3252 (R – Cabell, 18)

(304) 340-3175 (R – Monongalia, 51)

(304) 340-3900 (R – Taylor, 49)

(304) 340-3139 (R – Preston, 52)

(304) 340-3160 (R – Kanawha, 39)

(304) 340-3194 (R – Marion, 50)

(304) 340-3331

“Several years ago the WV Mountain Party passed a Resolution to promote the legalization of Medical Cannabis, and since that time we’ve made it a part of our Party Platform, prompted by our grassroots volunteers.

“Your help is now needed to get SB 386 passed during the regular session of this year’s Legislature. Contact each to urge them to PASS 386 with NO FURTHER AMENDMENTS.”

Jesse Johnson, Executive Chair, WV Mountain Party

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WV House Medical Cannabis Saboteurs?

WV House Judiciary chief stalls medical marijuana bill

AP file photo
The House of Delegates will wait until Monday to again take up a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The chairman of the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee on Friday asked for, and received, more time for his committee to study and amend a bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana.

House members voted 54-40 to fast-track the bill and read it for a first time Thursday evening. The vote came in response to concern that House leadership would kill the bill. It already had passed the Senate and needs to be read three times in the House of Delegates and signed by the governor to become law.

House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, said Friday that he wanted to wait until Monday to read the bill a second time. That’s when bills can be amended on the House floor, and Shott said he wants time for the Judiciary Committee to review the bill and propose an amendment.

Shott asked for unanimous consent to postpone further consideration of the bill until Monday, and no one objected.

The bill (SB 386), the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, would create the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission, which would oversee medical marijuana regulation in the state. It also sets up a revenue fund, includes a list of qualifying health conditions (which the commission could later add to), requires background checks for people involved in the system and prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. The bill states that the commission wouldn’t begin issuing licenses until July 2020.

Shott said that while he didn’t vote to fast-track the bill Thursday, he does believe in making even a bill he opposes be “the best it can possibly be.”

He said that, after reviewing the bill, he believes it gives too much power to a commission. It also doesn’t list standards for edibles — food products that contain marijuana — such as requiring packaging that identifies the food as containing marijuana.

“The way I read this bill, it’s kind of a Wild West approach,” Shott said.

Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock and a supporter of the bill, asked Shott if supporters would have a say in the process.

“We will make this as open as we can,” Shott said, noting that 75 people in the committee room might create “logistical problems.”

In a later interview, McGeehan said, “Leadership has given us, throughout this entire session, reason for distrust.”

“They could come up with language to poison the bill,” he said of Shott and other bill opponents.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, said Friday that “they’re trying to kill this bill.”

“They’re angered at the fact their dictatorship is starting to crumble,” he said. “Remember, we are actors. Our job is to follow the script of the people of West Virginia.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 28 states have comprehensive medical cannabis programs.

The Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for marijuana legalization, recently sent a statement from Matt Simon, a West Virginia native who works for the organization.

“For many patients, medical marijuana is a far safer alternative to opioids and other prescription drugs,” he said. “Any delegates who are serious about addressing the opiate crisis in West Virginia need to consider the substantial benefits this law could have on that front.”

Reach Erin Beck at, 304-348-5163, or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.


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