West Virginians can register for medical marijuana, but state still needs testing lab

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West Virginia residents are now able to register for access to medical marijuana, but the state still needs to partner with a testing lab before the product can be put on the market.

Beginning Wednesday, patients can register with the Office of Medical Cannabis to be approved for medical marijuana. The application process requires them to provide patient information, photo identification and approval from a physician. To date, only 30 physicians in the state are eligible to approve a person for access to medical marijuana.

Although the legislation to legalize medical marijuana was signed by Gov. Jim Justice nearly four years ago, the product is still not available and the state has not yet partnered with any testing labs, which is needed before patients can access it. The state has issued licenses for growers, processors and dispensaries.

Matt Simon, a senior legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Center Square that West Virginia’s implementation of a medical marijuana program has been slow compared to other states.

“Patients in West Virginia have been waiting a long time for safe, legal access to medical cannabis,” Simon said. “It has been nearly four years since Gov. Justice signed the medical cannabis bill into law, and there’s no reason the rollout should have taken this long. Other states have been able to implement similar programs in a fraction of the time it has taken West Virginia. Still, the fact that dispensaries have finally been licensed and patients are finally able to register for the program is an important step forward. We look forward to the day that patients will finally be able to obtain medical cannabis from dispensaries in West Virginia.”

Residents can register on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’s website.

Neither the department, nor the Office of Medical Cannabis responded to a request for comment from The Center Square.

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