West Virginia Medical Marijuana Program Could Take Years to Roll Out

June 28, 2019

West Virginia patients and caregivers waiting for the state’s medical cannabis program to officially start in July shouldn’t expect their program cards or physicians certificates anytime soon.

The Dominion Post reports that the state has had little time to prepare since legislation enabling the Medical Cannabis Act passed in March and May. The original Act was signed into law on April 19, 2017, by Governor Jim Justice. Under the Act, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health may not issue the patient and caregiver identification cards necessary to obtain medical cannabis until July 1, 2019.

However, the Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Medical Cannabis website said without a process for the department to accept and disburse funds related to applications for permits and fees associated with the implementation of the Medical Cannabis Act and without funding for the program, “the Bureau has not been able to proceed along the original timelines previously established.”

One bill passed this session addressed a banking issue, since cannabis money is still federally illegal. The other will allow growers, processers and dispensaries to profit as singular companies.

Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler says it will take two to three years before patients can procure medical cannabis.

Meanwhile, terminally ill cancer patients can get medical cannabis through reciprocity agreements with other states. Other patients will have to wait.

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