West Virginia Becomes the 29th State to Legalize Medical Cannabis
As of April 19, West Virginia became the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana. Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 386 so that medical marijuana will become effective on July 1, 2019. The introduction of the bill sets the foundation for future implementation. Legislation within the bill has tasked the Bureau of Public Health by implementing the bill’s structure so that the State can start issuing patient ID cards once the law takes effect. Before the bill takes effect in 2019, the Bureau must develop policies and procedures for certifying physicians, authorizing licenses to medical growers, testing standards for processors and farmers, and setting standards for retail dispensaries.
Who Qualifies for Medical Marijuana in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, the new medical marijuana law encourages physicians to recommend medical cannabis to their patients that have the following conditions:
(A) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care; or
(B) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces:
(i) Cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome;
(ii) Severe or chronic pain that does not find effective relief through standard pain medication;
(iii) Severe nausea;
(iv) Seizures; or
(v) Severe or persistent muscle spasms.
(C)The commission may not limit treatment of a particular medical condition to one class of physicians. Applications that include any other condition that is severe and for which other medical treatments have been ineffective if the symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by the medical use of cannabis, may be approved by the commission.
Qualifying medical cannabis patients will be charged $50 for their identification card, but the charge can be waived under instances of financial hardship. More information will be released by the commission as it is developed.
What Forms of Medical Marijuana Will be Available in West Virginia?
The approved forms of medical marijuana in West Virginia are as follows:
- and non-whole plant forms for administration through vaporization
The commission did not approve edibles for sale in dispensaries. However, products that contain medical marijuana could be mixed into food or drinks by patients themselves. Vaporization (or oils) are allowed, but smoking the dry flower product itself is prohibited. Qualifying Patients may only obtain a 30-day supply of cannabis at a time. As the program continues to develop, the commission will release who will determine the definition of a 30-day supply.
What Could This Mean For West Virginia?
Legalizing medical use of marijuana will be an opportunity for West Virginia because according to your4state.com, they spend about $17 million a year just to enforce their current marijuana laws. By legalizing it for medical use, law enforcement will save a significant amount of money policing actual drug criminals and stay away from patients legally using cannabis.
As seen in other states that have legalized medical marijuana, officials are predicting that West Virginia will receive a significant increase in tax revenue from the new industry. Your4state.com estimates that West Virginia will receive anywhere from $45 million to $194 million in additional tax revenue.
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