PRINCETON — West Virginia residents with qualifying medical conditions will have an opportunity Dec. 7 in Mercer County to sign up for access to medical cannabis products that will be sold by a company planning to open dispensaries in southern West Virginia.
The West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) will host a public sign up event for medical cannabis patients from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 7 at Country Inn & Suites along 111 Halls Ridge Road near Princeton, according to an announcement from the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
Jason Frame, director of the state OMC, said that he knew of plans for a cannabis dispensary in the Princeton area.
A billboard near the intersection of U.S. Route 460 and Courthouse Road outside of Princeton has announced that a company called Greenlight Dispensary is planning to open an outlet there. The company’s website also announced future dispensaries in Beckley, Logan, Lewisburg and Strollings, but did not provide any opening dates. The company has outlets in Arkansas, the Kansas City region, Missouri and Illinois. Company officials were unavailable Thursday.
“There are two dispensaries in the state now, and we expect that number to grow quickly in 2021 and into 2022,” Frame told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
The dispensaries are in Morgantown and Weston. Dispensaries are not for selling recreational cannabis products, he said.
“These are very professional establishments that focus on the medical needs of the patients,” Frame said. “Everything sold must be approved by us at the state. The medical cannabis products themselves go through extensive testing to ensure patient safety.”
People who come to these future dispensaries must be West Virginia residents, and they must possess a valid state card showing they are a medical cannabis patient. Patients are being registered for their cards now so they will not have to wait for them after the dispensaries open, Frame said.
The dispensaries will not require prescriptions, but the physicians’ role is to certify that the patients have a need, he said. Precautions will be in place to make sure patients cannot go from one dispensary to another in order to stock up on products. The system for monitoring the distribution of medical cannabis is called “from seed to sale.”
“All of these products are monitored by us,” Frame said. “They’re monitored from the seed all the way to the patient including the amount that a patient is purchasing, which is also limited. They (dispensaries) all feed into the same electronic system.”
The OMC outlined requirements that West Virginia residents need to meet when applying. Under the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, the following ailments are considered a serious medical condition:
• 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.
Patients who have already been certified by a registered physician as having an applicable serious medical condition must bring the following items when they attend the public sign up on Dec. 7:
• Completed patient certification form.
• Driver’s license or state ID.
• Proof of West Virginia residency, such as a utility bill.
• $50 patient ID card application fee, which must be paid by check or money order.
Patients who have not already seen a registered physician must bring the following items, in addition to the above:
• At least one piece of medical documentation that shows their diagnosis, such as medical records, a letter from a doctor, or office visit summaries.
• A valid photo ID.
• Two proofs of West Virginia residency, such as utility bills, for state registration.
• Cash, credit or debit to pay the $150 physician evaluation fee.
Patients who have a household income of 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less may apply for a waiver of the $50 patient ID card fee at the event, according to OMC officials. If a waiver is requested, applicants must provide their most recent W2, pay stubs within the last 30 days or proof of eligibility for low-income benefits.
Appointments are strongly encouraged and may be scheduled by calling 304-356-5090, OMC officials said. To date, the OMC has received approximately 4,734 patient applications for medical cannabis.
Patient cards are valid only in West Virginia. Registration does not mean medical cannabis products can immediately be obtained statewide as dispensaries are still continuing to open across West Virginia.
The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act permits West Virginia residents with serious medical conditions to procure medical cannabis for certified medical use in the following forms: pill; oil; topical forms including gels, creams or ointments; a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization; dry leaf or plant form; tincture; liquid; or dermal patch.
In addition to the Princeton event, eligible West Virginians can register for a medical cannabis patient card at www.medcanwv.org. A list of physicians registered to certify patients as eligible for the use of medical cannabis is available on the website.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com