Eligible patients in West Virginia finally have access to medical cannabis after four years and seven months since state legislators approved a medical marijuana program.
“West Virginia holds the unfortunate record for the slowest state to implement medical cannabis access. Many patients have surely died waiting,” Marijuana Policy Project’s state policies director Karen O’Keefe said in an email to MJBizDaily.
As of today, qualified patients can shop at Trulieve Cannabis’ dispensary in Morgantown and purchase various marijuana products such as tincture dropper bottles filled with medicinal goods. Trulieve Cannabis is the largest multi-state operator in the country and will have a second location in Weston open on Monday.
“While today’s news comes as a welcome relief for West Virginians, it is far too late for the tens of thousands of patients who have suffered needlessly in the interim as politicians and regulators largely dragged their feet,” NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf announced on their website.
The Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law on April 19, 2017, by Governor Jim Justice and allowed certified medical marijuana consumption by West Virginia residents. Only residents with a serious medical condition as determined by a professional physician qualify to consume marijuana in the following forms:
- Topicals such as gels, creams, or ointments
- Dermal Patch
Smokable marijuana flowers and edibles, the two most popular forms of consumption, are still banned by the state. West Virginia politicians have argued that the delay was due to conflicts to provide a secure banking program for the medical marijuana program.
Reports show cannabis is listed as the most valuable crop in the country. Plenty of cannabis businesses in West Virginia are looking forward to making profits.
West Virginia’s delays with its medical marijuana programs highlight some of the issues states are experiencing in establishing their programs.
Last month, the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice Committee rejected cannabis legalization bills. The saga of state by state, medical and recreational legalization continues to drag on.