CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Based on the turnout Monday in Charleston, the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Medical Cannabis is looking ahead to host more in-person registration events throughout West Virginia for medical cannabis.
Patients interested in signing up for West Virginia’s new medical marijuana program did so at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department with reps from the office there, including director Jason Frame, in anticipation of dispensaries opening this fall.
Frame told MetroNews the morning hours were busy and saw people come from around the Kanawha Valley including more than one hour away.
“Based on what we’ve seen today (Monday), I think we’ll expand this to other areas in the state. It’s gone well so far and we expect to duplicate in other areas,” Frame said.
Frame said the reason for the signup event is to bring access to the people who may not have reliable internet at home or their devices are not compatible with the office’s system.
There have been over 2,500 patient applications since registration began in February, according to Frame. He added the state has 10 growers, 10 processors and 100 dispensaries ready for opening.
Frame expects the patient numbers to continue to grow, especially with more in-person events.
“Today (Monday) is part of that. Adding patients that had difficulties accessing the system. As the industry matures throughout the state, we expect that number to continue to grow,” Frame said.
“Plants are growing in the state as we speak. That takes three to four months so we expect products to be available later this fall.”
For signup events, patients must have already seen a registered physician and bring the following items: Physician certification form; driver’s license, state ID, or passport; and proof of West Virginia residency, such as a utility bill or voter registration card.
If a patient registers by Sept. 30, their card is good for two years, according to the office’s website. Registration after Oct. 1 will result in a card that is good for one year. Patient cards are valid only in West Virginia.
MetroNews previously reported that those with a household income of 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less may apply for a waiver of the $50 state card fee. If a waiver is requested, applicants must provide documentation like a W2, paystub or proof of eligibility for low-income benefits.
Medical cannabis was legalized in the Mountain State with the signing of Senate Bill 386 on April 19, 2017. It created the Medical Cannabis Act that allows for cannabis to be used for certified medical use by a West Virginia resident with a serious medical condition to purchase the drug in forms of a pill, oil and topical forms including gels, creams, or ointments; as well as in a form of vaporization or nebulization, dry leaf, plant, tincture, liquid or dermal patch.
The Office of Medical Cannabis lists serious medical conditions under the Act as:
- Position status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Intractable seizures
- Sickle cell anemia
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
- Terminal illness that is defined as a medical prognosis of life expectancy of approximately one year or less if the illness runs its normal course
Frame said state residents can register for a medical cannabis patient card at www.medcanwv.org or call the office at 304-356-5090.