State Officials Already Preparing for Medical Marijuana Program

State Officials Already Preparing for Medical Marijuana Program

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Staff Photo by Kirsten Reneau Although the start of West Virginia’s medical marijuana program is still more than two years away, preparations for its rollout have already begun. According to the law signed by Gov. Jim Justice — Senate Bill 386, which authorizes doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients and establishes a system to oversee the program — patients will not be able to begin legally purchasing marijuana until July 2019. Until then, state officials are tasked with taking the steps necessary to comply with SB 386’s stipulations. The language of the bill states that patients diagnosed with certain conditions can apply for an identification card with permission from their doctor. Conditions include terminal illnesses, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS, PTSD, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. After receiving permission from their doctor, patients will be required to pay a $50 fee to receive ID cards, although this fee may be waived for some patients, depending on their financial situation. The law does not allow patients to grow their own plants or smoke marijuana. Only licensed dispensaries will be permitted to sell marijuana, and their sales will be restricted to pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, liquids, dermal patches or non-whole plant forms. The bill also establishes the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to regulate the program under the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources ’ Bureau for Public Health . The bill says the board’s members will include four physicians appointed by the state West Virginia State Medical Association , a pharmacist appointed by the Board of Pharmacy, a horticulturist appointed by the agriculture commissioner, a counselor appointed by the West Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Counselors and an attorney appointed by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute , the commissioner of the Bureau for […]

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