The application process for medical cannabis growers, processors, dispensaries and laboratories in West Virginia (finally) kicks off on Thursday local time.
Applications can be lodged online only and the application period will end on February 18, 2020 – no additional submissions will be accepted after that time.
“This is a key step in the process to make medical cannabis available to West Virginians with serious medical conditions,” said Jason Frame, Director of the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis last month.
It’s expected there will be stiff competition for the permits – West Virginia’s Bureau for Public Health will only issue permits for no more than 10 growers, 10 processors and 100 dispensaries initially.
As for the fees involved:
- Grower: application – $5,000 (non-refundable), permit – $50,000
- Processor: application – $5,000 (non-refundable), permit – $50,000
- Dispensary: application – $2,500 (non-refundable), permit – $10,000
Legislation for the state’s medical cannabis program was signed into law on April 19, 2017 by Governor Jim Justice, so it has been a very long process in West Virginia. It’s far from over yet – aside from review of applications and granting of permits, rules still need to be nutted out.
For patients and their caregivers, there will very lengthy wait before they can access medicines as all medical cannabis sold in West Virginia must be grown and processed in the state.
A release date for applications for medical cannabis patient cards has not yet been determined. It may be that the first dispensaries in the state won’t open until 2021, making the entire process from legislation being signed into law to the first sales to patients ending up taking more than four years.
Among the serious medical conditions that will qualify under the program are terminal illness, cancer, stress disorder, and severe chronic or intractable pain. Medical cannabis based pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, liquid, and non-whole plant forms for vaping will be permitted under the program.
For physicians to participate in the program, they’ll need to submit an online application (again, yet to be made available) to the Bureau for Public Health, demonstrate training or expertise in treating applicable serious medical conditions, complete a required four-hour course that is to be established and hold a valid West Virginia license to practice medicine.
A summary of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, SB 386 can be found here.