Through West Virginia’s medical marijuana program, people with serious illnesses can use cannabis to treat symptoms that interfere with their daily lives and prevent them from working, spending time with their families, or pursuing their interests. Many conventional treatments, which sometimes are ineffective or have negative side effects, can be replaced with marijuana.
More than 18,000 West Virginians have obtained medical marijuana identification cards since the program’s inception, enabling them to purchase cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries and legally possess marijuana in the state. In addition to its benefits for patients, the cannabis industry has created nearly 2,000 jobs.
The history of West Virginia’s medical marijuana laws, its restrictions on personal possession, and its penalties for infractions are all covered in this article. You can get the most out of your cannabis use without breaking the law if you are familiar with the particulars of WV’s cannabis legislation.
When Governor Jim Justice signed the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act in April 2017, West Virginia became the 29th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
Although the state’s initial cannabis laws applied strict limitations and did not permit flowers or plant material, patient advocates persisted in calling for change. In 2019 and 2020, the legislature discussed the new law and approved amendments to the act.
A lawsuit that is still pending prevents banks from accepting and issuing payments to dispensaries, which further delayed the implementation of the program. Credit unions are now able to take part in the medical marijuana market thanks to legislation that the state government passed in 2019. A law protecting state employees from prosecution for their participation in the program was also passed.
These legislative discussions caused a delay in the formulation of guidelines to control the program’s patient and commercial aspects. In February 2021, the state finally began accepting patient card applications and issued 100 licenses to dispensaries.
In November 2021, the first dispensary opened in Morgantown. There are currently 40 active dispensaries. As the program expands to meet patient demand, more locations are anticipated to open.
You are permitted to keep up to 30 days’ worth of medical marijuana as a registered patient. Your 30-day supply is calculated based on the dosage and form specified by your doctor on the medical marijuana certificate. Cannabis obtained from other sources or marijuana that isn’t used for medical purposes cannot be in your possession.
West Virginia still forbids the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Any marijuana possession by a non-patient is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum $1,000 fine and a jail sentence of 90 days to six months.
In West Virginia, it’s against the law to consume cannabis in public. You are required to use your medical marijuana in a private setting, such as your home or someone else’s home (with their consent). Due to the ongoing federal prohibition, you may never use cannabis on federal or national lands.
Employers are not required to allow employees to use cannabis on their property, but they are not allowed to discriminate against applicants based on applicants’ status as patients.
According to the 2017 law, medical marijuana users who have trace amounts of THC—defined as 3 ng/ml or more—in their blood cannot operate a vehicle. When using your medical marijuana, make plans for rides or other forms of transportation. Depending on your biochemistry, the dose, and the method of consumption, it may take eight hours or longer for THC to be metabolized.
First offenses are misdemeanors subject to a maximum $5,000 fine, up to six months in jail, and a 90- to six-month license suspension. With each subsequent offense, the minimum punishments increase.
The West Virginia medical marijuana card application can be completed entirely online. Verify first that you meet one of the state-recognized eligibility requirements. Intractable pain/chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, terminal illness, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and specific neuropathies are among the medical conditions that can qualify you. Only patients with a verified diagnosis are eligible to apply for an MMJ card.
After that, you can make a consultation with a licensed West Virginia doctor. A medical marijuana certificate must be issued by a doctor who has completed specialized training in accordance with the state.
A list of accredited healthcare providers is available from the Office of Medical Cannabis. You can use telehealth services or in-person consultations to meet with one of them. Then you can create an online portal account, finish your application, and submit the supplemental documents after your doctor issues a certificate.
You must submit a digital passport-style photo, a copy of a state ID, documentation proving your residency in West Virginia, and a copy of the physician certification as part of your application. A $50 registration fee is also collected by the state. If your income is within 200% of the federal poverty level, you will be eligible for a waiver.
The Sanctuary can give you guidance at each step of the process. Our staff will verify your eligibility, recommend a compassionate medical marijuana doctor to you so you can obtain a certificate, and provide you with information on the necessary documentation for the state medical cannabis card application.
You will be able to visit dispensaries and buy medical cannabis products like dry leaf, dermal patches, edibles, tinctures, topicals, ointments, creams, gels, vaporization products, and more if you are accepted into West Virginia’s medical cannabis program and are given an MMJ card by the state.
No, West Virginia punishes possession of any amount of marijuana without a patient status with up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail.
While a bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use is still being debated as of January 2023, recreational users will face more restrictions on access and possession than registered patients.
You are allowed to own cannabis flowers, concentrates, tinctures, capsules, topical creams or patches, and vape or nebulizer cartridges. Dispensaries are strictly regulated companies that sell only approved goods. Your marijuana will be clearly labeled with its strain and amount of THC content.
In accordance with your medical marijuana certificate, you are not allowed to possess marijuana that was not purchased from a licensed retailer. You are not allowed to have synthetic marijuana or medical marijuana that belongs to another patient either.
According to their certificates, West Virginia patients are permitted to possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana. The dosages and forms that you are allowed to purchase are determined by your doctor. During the medical marijuana consultation, being open and honest about your condition and symptoms will help the doctor recommend the right dosage and delivery system to treat your symptoms.
A 30-day supply is regarded by the state as 6 ounces of plant material or 60 grams of extract. The staff at the dispensary can explain these restrictions to you so you can figure out how much product you can legally possess.
No—patients with medical marijuana cards from other states are unable to shop at WV dispensaries and do not enjoy the same legal protections. Federal law forbids the transportation of cannabis into West Virginia.
Yes. In West Virginia, getting a medical marijuana card doesn’t require you to go through a background check. You cannot act as a caregiver who can buy and possess cannabis on behalf of a qualified patient if you have ever been convicted of a felony, though.