Medical marijuana program does sign-ups in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Those with the state Medical Cannibas Office were in Morgantown Wednesday to sign-up those interested in apply for a cannibas card.

The office has been hosting some in-person signing events in various parts of the state after registration officially opened earlier this year.

State Cannabis Office Assistant Director Crystal Lowe said registrations for the program have been steady.

“We have received 3,097 applications and so far we have approved 1,661 of those applications,” Lowe said Wednesday.

The program offers cannabis in different forms to people suffering “serious medical conditions,” according to the law. State law considers chronic pain, cancer, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis are among some of the “serious medical condition” descriptions.

In Morgantown, Lowe and her staff conducted a sign up event at the Mountaineer Mall. Applicants to the program start the process with certification from a doctor certified by the program. The cost of the certification can range from $150 to $250. Once the patient has the certification from the doctor the online application process can begin.

The list of approved documents and important guidelines for the digital photo are at the Office of Medical Cannabis website. The cost of the medical cannabis card is $50.

“Their ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID, proof of West Virginia residency and a digital photo of themselves as well as the physician certification form,” Lowe said.

Residents can request a fee waiver if they can verify their income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Patients should allow eight weeks for state officials to process and approve the application.

The operators of dispensaries have not released opening dates, but Lowe offered some insight as to when cannabis would be available.

“Right now, we are anticipating it will be early to mid-December before the first dispensaries will have product available,” Lowe said.

Patients who sign up prior to Sept. 30 will receive a card good for two years. Registrations after Oct. 1 will also cost $50, but will only be valid for one year.

“Right now if they sign up before Oct. 1 then they will get two years, so they’ll have an extra year they don’t have to pay for the patient ID card,” Lowe said.

So far, the office has processed more than 400 applications per month since February and Lowe expects that number to increase.

“The process has actually went very well,” Lowe said. “We’ve certainly had a few bugs, but nothing that has stopped the program.”

The Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law in April 2017. State officials named the growers last October, cannabis processors last November while dispensaries were approved in January.

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