On what Governor Jim Justice referred to as “a monumental day,” West Virginia approved the passing of Senate Bill 386. The approval of the state’s Medical Cannabis Act makes it the 29th state to have a medical marijuana law on the books and will make medical cannabis accessible to patients who are most in need of the medicine.
West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act Details
Senate Bill 386 makes medical cannabis available to patients suffering from one of the following sixteen medical conditions: epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord injuries, terminal illness, neuropathies, intractable seizures, and severe or chronic pain that has not responded to conventional medications and therapy.
The state will grant licenses to up to 10 growers and processors to cultivate and manufacture cannabis products such as oils, topicals (gels, creams or ointments), tinctures, liquids, pills, dermal patches, or any form that is medically appropriate for administration by vaporizer or nebulizer excluding dry flower.
The state will also provide licenses to as many as 30 retail dispensaries across the state to distribute these approved medical cannabis products. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health will oversee the licensing process.
What the Medical Cannabis Act is Lacking
As with most medical marijuana laws, there are restrictions that will limit its effectiveness. The law excludes the smoking of marijuana as well as the sale and purchase of edible marijuana products.
It also leaves off the list of approved conditions certain psychological disorders like depression and anxiety that evidence suggests can benefit from medical cannabis.
Finally, identification cards for medical cannabis access won’t be issued until July 2019 at the earliest, so needy patients will still have to wait several years before they can receive this valuable medicine.
The new law – the underdog legislative victory of the year so far – is a huge win for the cannabis legalization movement, the entire marijuana industry and, most importantly, the citizens of West Virginia.
While the new law may still need polishing, it unquestionably gives hope to many thousands of people suffering from various medical conditions, some of which are not easily relieved by conventional therapy and drugs.
A monumental day indeed.