West Virginia will accept applications for medical cannabis growers, processors, dispensaries, and laboratories starting December 19, 2019. The West Virginia Health and Human Resources Bureau is responsible for implementing the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act that was enacted in 2017. The state has yet to issue patient and caregiver cards.
Patients with a serious medical condition can qualify for a medical cannabis card. These conditions include terminal illnesses as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. General anxiety disorder did not make the list.
There are limited cannabis products available to patients as flower products and gummies are prohibited. Dispensaries may sell pills, oils, topicals, vapes, tinctures, liquids, and dermal patches. Dispensaries must pay the state a 10% tax on the gross receipts.
West Virginia will issue permits for 10 growers, 10 processors and 100 dispensaries. The state is capping the number of permits a person may receive to 1 grow license, 1 processing license, and 10 dispensary licenses. West Virginia will allow vertically integrated businesses, however, applicants must obtain approval for each non-transferable permit type. Dispensary application fees are $10,000 while growing and processing application fees are $50,000.
The state will allocate the dispensary permits by regions that are based on factors such as population, the number of patients, access to public transportation, approval by local health departments and whether the county has banned medical cannabis businesses. Finding property in an area that is highly populous may be challenging as the state has yet to announce the boundaries for each region.
Applicants must include the proposed dispensary location in the initial application. It will be a challenge to secure a property during the application window, which closes on February 18, 2020. If awarded a permit, the recipient can ask for additional locations.
It is unclear when West Virginia’s medical cannabis program will be up and running. The state missed its July 2019 deadline for making applications available. The uncertainty around the application process and timing can cause a financial headache for applicants that enter into a contract to secure a property. The payoff, in the long run, could be limited due to the Mountain State’s small population and uncertain history for meeting implementation deadlines.