After four years, West Virginia is finally opening medical cannabis registration
It’s been four years since West Virginia legalized medical cannabis, and until now there has been no program in place to help patients. Eligible patients can now finally register and officially become part of the program.
While approval for the medical cannabis business was granted back in October last year, it took so long for patients to start their work. The state was only recently able to get a testing lab approved, which was a missing step to move the program forward.
Patients with cancer, HIV / AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain can register. In order to obtain medicinal cannabis, as in other constitutional states, patients must receive a recommendation from a registered doctor. To obtain a medical cannabis card, once approved, patients can visit medcanwv.org.
Now that sales are on the right track, they are projected to hit up to $ 700,000 in the state this year.
A promising start for medical cannabis in West Virginia
As of Monday this week, nearly 1,400 applications had been received from potential patients, according to the Office of Medical Cannabis, a subgroup of the Department of Health and Human Resources.
“There are many West Virgins who suffer from chronic pain due to a serious illness,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, the State Health Commissioner and Commissioner of the DHHR Public Health Bureau. “Registering a medical cannabis card through the web portal will ensure that these patients will have access to medical cannabis at the time the product becomes available, which is expected by the fall of 2021.”
So far, DHHR has announced Analabs Inc. as the testing laboratory for the industry. In total, the Office of Medical Cannabis has granted licenses to 100 pharmacies as well as 10 producers and 10 processors to manufacture the product. The pharmacies will have 32 different companies and 23 counties will be pharmacies.
This will likely be the amount of program growth to date, as state lawmakers limited the program to 10 permits for growers and 10 for processors. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to feed the young industry.
The reason it took medical cannabis so long to get up and running in West Virginia has to do with the problems the state encountered in 2019 in terms of fees, penalties, and taxes, and how to deal with the new industry . Much of this had to do with federal laws and banking issues, and now that a federal law was passed to support cannabis banking, the industry could move forward.
This is all good news, but while the industry has been able to move forward, it has still not been able to pass a law that adds more pharmacies, processors and producers. Even smokable cannabis and edibles, which are popular with many patients, are still not allowed. West Virginia only allows vaping cannabis, but it’s not clear how that law is enforced after purchasing a product.
“The timing is based on the progress that producers and processors are making to further expand the industry,” said DHHR spokeswoman Andrea Lannom. “We expect the products to be available to consumers in the fall, but this may change if delays occur with these two groups.”
Although there have been many setbacks and it is unclear what the future of cannabis will be in West Virginia, medical patients across the state are excited that they can finally get the product they need.