CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The application period has now closed for those initially interested in becoming part of West Virginia’s medical marijuana industry with 285 total permit applications submitted from growers, processors, dispensaries and labs.

The application period ended at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Reviews of the applications, including background checks, will be the next steps, according to information from the Office of Medical Cannabis in the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

A scoring team with consider the applications and provide recommendations to an awards team to determine the issuance of permits.

No timeline for the review work was provided, but there were indications it could extend into May.

Previously, those with the Office of Medical Cannabis indicated ten grower permits, ten processor permits, up to 100 dispensary permits and unlimited lab permits were available.

A vertical integration law allowed for the same parties to apply for grower, processor and dispensary permits.

The permitting is the next step in the implementation process for the law legalizing marijuana in West Virginia for medical uses.

What was a two-month application period for the available permits opened in December.

The breakdown for applications received included 199 dispensary applications, 41 applications from potential processors, 44 from growers and one testing lab.

Operational preparations will follow the permit decisions.

Separate permits in the form of medical cannabis cards will be required for patients with medical conditions as defined in the Medical Cannabis Act and as determined by physicians registered with the Office of Medical Cannabis.

The patient cards, good for one year, could come with restrictions.

Thus far, no application release date for patients has been scheduled.

Under the existing timeline, it could be the middle of 2021, at the earliest, before West Virginia’s medical marijuana industry is fully operating for patients.

In recent weeks, leaders in a number of West Virginia counties have taken steps to make clear their support for industry companies.