Commissioners discuss WVa Medical Cannabis Act

By Kayla Hawthorne -

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commissioners singed a letter of support for the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act during their meeting on Thursday.

The letters, signed by all three commissioners, was sent to Jason Frame, director of the Office of Medical Cannabis, and to Jennifer Thomas, director of the Mason County Health Department, states the commission supports the implementation of the act. The letter also states that the commission allows the “West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health to issue medical cannabis grower, processor and dispensary permits within Mason County.”

Commissioners signed the letters after being asked by Chris Yeager, a hemp grower who spoke to commissioners last month, if the commission welcomed the hemp industry. Yeager will be submitting the business application, due Feb. 18, but wanted to be sure the county was welcoming before selecting Mason County as a location.

In other business:

The commissioners approved the hiring of Chris Cline as a PRN Telecommunications operator (dispatcher) for the 9-1-1 center.

Commissioners received notification of the resignation of Public Service District (PSD) board member Curtis Hunt. The commission approved the appointment of Brent Clark to fill that position. Clark previously served as the general manager of the PSD.

The county received two grants from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Records Management and Preservation Board. One grant is for $5,000 for circuit clerk for personnel costs to scan and index divorce case files using the county’s record management system. The other grant is in the amount of $4,430 for the county clerk to digitize active and inactive voters registration cards. The grant includes a 10 percent match for funds.

Commissioners approved the emergency absentee voting policy submitted by County Clerk Diana Cromley. Emergency absentee voting allows county residents in hospitals and nursing homes (for less than 30 days) to vote on absentee ballots.

Commissioner Sam Nibert said the animal shelter wants to upgrade the pens from chain-linked fence to concrete block walls about 4 feet high. Nibert said some of the more vicious dogs chew on the chain linked, which is dangerous for the animals and ruins the panels.

County Administrator John Gerlach said he is expecting to receive a bid for the parking lot and slate-work at the library.

The commissioners signed a resolution about the opioid suit. The resolution summarizes why the commissioners decided to retain The Chafin Law Firm, PLLC, as counsel to file the suit as opioids being a public nuisance. Commissioners declared the public nuisance in August 2017 to “hold accountable those entities who caused this public nuisance and to abate the same by seeking all civil remedies which may be afforded under West Virginia law,” states the resolution.

After signing the resolution, the commissioners went into executive session to discuss the suit with the attorneys.

The next meeting of the Mason County Commission will be Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.

By Kayla Hawthorne

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.