West Virginia Medical Marijuana: What’s Going on with our Neighbors to the South?
As a new year approaches, West Virginia medical marijuana is getting closer to becoming available for West Virginia residents. In fact, on December 19, 2019, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health will begin accepting applications for growers, processors, dispensaries, and laboratories. The application period will be open for 60 days, ending on February 18, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. EST, and no additional applications will be accepted after that date. The West Virginia medical marijuana program is making small but positive steps in the right direction for a successful program launch.
The Battle for West Virginia Medical Marijuana
While Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries have been able to help thousands of people cope with their conditions for almost 2 years now, those in support of West Virginia medical marijuana have had quite the battle. In 2017, West Virginia voted to legalize medical marijuana by July 1, 2019 for specific conditions. However, concerns arose shortly after about how West Virginia would comply with federal law when handling taxes and fees. Different solutions were brought to the table, and the state continued to fight to work out the issues that arose.
Then in March of 2019, West Virginia state lawmakers passed a bill to determine how money will be processed in the West Virginia medical marijuana industry. Shortly following, numerous bills were passed to prepare the state for an official medical marijuana program. Still, the program estimated that it could take two to three years before patients could get their hands on medical marijuana. Luckily, in September State Treasurer John Perdue announced that a contract had been awarded in connection with the financial side of the state’s medical marijuana program.
Since then, the West Virginia medical marijuana program has been hard at work with their contractors. The goal was to make sure they could implement and release facility applications as quickly as possible. And now, that goal is finally in sight. Accepting applications is a key step in the process to make medical marijuana available to West Virginians with serious medical conditions.
Though the process is moving in a forward direction, the state says West Virginia residents shouldn’t expect the program to officially be on its feet for a while now. Just as the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program took some time to fully get on its feet, the same will happen for West Virginia medical marijuana. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) estimates that it will likely take 18 months before patients can obtain medical marijuana.
When the West Virginia medical marijuana program is officially up and running, there will be laws to follow. Patients who are residents of West Virginia and under a West Virginia-licensed physician’s care for the treatment of one of the 15 serious medical conditions may obtain medical marijuana in the state. Some of the qualifying conditions for West Virginia medical marijuana include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Epilepsy, PTSD, Huntington’s disease and many others. West Virginia medical marijuana will be available in multiple forms, including pills, tinctures, topicals, patches, and more.
How to Obtain Medical Marijuana in West Virginia
To be able to obtain West Virginia medical marijuana when the program starts, you must be a WV resident and must complete four steps. 1) Register with the Bureau, 2) Obtain a physician’s certificate declaring the patient has been diagnosed with one of the 15 approved conditions, 3) apply for a medical marijuana ID card, and 4) obtain medical marijuana from an approved dispensary in West Virginia. You can regularly check the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health for updated information.
For any additional questions regarding West Virginia medical marijuana, you can contact the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health by filling out the BFPH contact form. You can also call the WV BFPH at (304) 558-2971. At Solevo Wellness, we will continue to update patients on the latest medical marijuana news both in Pennsylvania and across the nation. We are excited to see our neighbors to the South moving in the right direction to allow more patients to obtain medical marijuana for serious medical conditions.