They say better late than never, but in the case of making medical cannabis available locally to West Virginia patients, wow.
It was way back in April 2017 when West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill into law creating the state’s Medical Cannabis Act. Under the Act, appropriately certified patients with a qualifying condition could use cannabis in various forms; including pills, oils, topical forms, for vaping, dry leaf, tincture liquids or dermal patches.
It often takes time from when a bill is signed into law to see medications in the hands of patients, but in West Virginia’s case it’s been four-and-a-half years – and more than 4,000 of the state’s residents have applied for the program. The problem has been West Virginia’s patient card is valid only in that state and provides no legal protection for products obtained outside it.
There was talk of reciprocity agreements with any states with comparable requirements, but that was to only be for terminally ill patients and no such agreements were ever made.
On the industry side of things it wasn’t until late 2019 the application process for medical cannabis growers, processors, dispensaries and laboratories kicked off. So, nearly two years have passed since.
But finally, the wait is over for medical cannabis card holders in Virginia – assuming they are mobile as they may have to travel some distance at this point.
Late last week, Trulieve announced the opening of its first dispensary in West Virginia – and the first in the state – in Morgantown. The company also plans to open its second retail location in Weston on Monday.
“We look forward to serving West Virginia patients, who have been patiently waiting for this day to arrive,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers.
The company, which operates in 11 states, has a 100,000 square foot cultivation facility at Huntington. Trulieve says it has scaled its cultivation capacity to meet patient demand and plans to open more dispensary storefronts across West Virginia in the year ahead.
“Our team is especially eager to leverage our first-mover advantage to bolster local economies by creating sustainable jobs and investing in marginalized communities,” said Ms. Rivers.
Further information on Virginia’s medical cannabis program can be found here.