The Status of Cannabis Legalization in WV
When SB 386 first passed in 2017, it changed the game for West Virginia regarding medicinal cannabis; however, setting up the playing field is reportedly taking long. Between federal regulation laws and banking regulations, state officials remain unable to make reliable decisions, delaying the program, according to the Americans for Safe Access (ASA).
ASA, a Washington-based organization that reports all U.S. state medical cannabis programs annually, gives West Virginia an F for the 2020 marking period even though the Mountain State made some positive changes, including allowing dry cannabis flower along with oils.
“Continued delays to program launch is directly impacting patients’ lives by denying them access to the medicine they need for treatment,” reports ASA. “Further, state delays are placing patients at risk of arrest and prosecution for obtaining and using a medicine that the state has failed to deliver legal access to, despite having authorized the creation of a medical cannabis program over three years ago.”
Meanwhile, West Virginia is announcing winners of statewide cultivation licenses, according to MetroNews. “Ten growers were selected to receive the permits out of 39 applicants,” reports the local West Virginia news source in September 2020. “They’ll not be able to sit around. Each permit requires action within six months.”
While it may take even more time for West Virginia to spearhead the statewide medical cannabis program, the Mountain State is doing the best that it can, regardless of ASA’s failing score of F.
Qualifying Conditions and Costs
West Virginia qualifies patients on a “serious medical condition,” including:
Along with having a qualifying condition, a patient who lives in West Virginia must prove their residency with a valid driver’s license or state identification card. Additionally, the patient must pay a $50 annual card registration fee that must be renewed annually at the same price.
A West Virginia resident who wants to become a caregiver must be at least 21 years old and prove their state address with a valid driver’s license or identification card. Additionally, a caregiver undergoes a background check to be approved. However, a caregiver will not be considered unless designated as an assistant by the state registered cannabis cardholder.
Possession and Cultivation
West Virginia’s medical cannabis possession limits are open-ended, with a patient allowed to possess up to a 30-day supply based on the physician’s recommended amount. There is absolutely no cultivation in the state. West Virginia permits medical cannabis in various forums, including a pill, oil, topical, tincture, liquid, dermal patch. The government also allows “a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, excluding dry leaf or plant form unless dry leaf or plant forms become acceptable under the rules adopted by the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health.”
Frequently Asked Questions
No, the state does not offer any physician referrals, which is why when Veriheal sets up shop in West Virginia, residents who wish to apply for a medical cannabis card will be able to use the platform.
Yes. West Virginia does consider chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the statewide program.
Yes. To be approved for a medical cannabis license in WV an applicant must provide either a state license or identification card to prove their residency.