FAIRMONT — Although Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill making cannabis legal for medical use in West Virginia in April 2017, there are fewer than 5,000 medical cannabis patients in the Mountain State.

The state’s Office of Medical Cannabis held public registration events at two Trulieve Medical Cannabis dispensary locations in Weston and Morgantown late last November. Since then, many new dispensaries have opened around the state.

“These events were very successful,” Director of the Office of Medical Cannabis Jason Frame said.

Frame said the sign-up events hosted at Trulieve’s Morgantown and Weston locations last November registered 30-40 new patients each.

While these numbers may seem low, medical cannabis is only available to those with serious medical conditions under the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act.

West Virginia residents may qualify for medical cannabis who have a terminal illness or face pain due to cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable seizures, sickle cell anemia, or severe chronic or intractable pain.

Employees at the Trulieve dispensary in Morgantown said some medical cannabis businesses are hesitant to establish themselves here due to West Virginia’s roughly 5,000 patient consumer base. But it hasn’t deterred everyone.

Employees at Trulieve’s Morgantown location said that three new dispensaries are currently under construction in North Central West Virginia.

Cannabist Beckley opened Friday in the southern part of the state. Its parent company, Columbia Care Inc., has plans to open Cannabist location on Don Knotts Boulevard in Morgantown later this year. Cannabist’s first location opened in Williamstown on Feb. 4. Another dispensary called Pure Leaf was built over the last four to five months and is set to open off the Pierpont Road exit by iHop.

Bridgeport is set to get its first medical cannabis this year called Hill Fire.

Frame said more sign-up events are planned to be held in the future, but the Office of Medical Cannabis has ceased to hold sponsored public sign-up events, in an effort to avoid unnecessary exposure to both patients and staff in light of the most recent surge of cases of COVID-19.

“Folks have been waiting for this industry to stand up,” Frame said.

Frame mentioned that several former employees of Mylan Pharmaceuticals were recruited to work at the Harvest Care Medical commercial production lab located in Bridgeport. However, he declined to comment further on medical marijuana’s impact on the pharmaceutical industry in West Virginia.

Because marijuana is still federally prohibited, no raw materials can be imported through interstate commerce. So, the new demand has been supplied locally. Frame said that permits have been approved for 10 production, 10 processing, and 100 dispensary locations in West Virginia. It is only a matter of time before all 120 locations are fully operational.

Andrea Lannom, public information officer with the Office of Medical Cannabis, said it is estimated that 2% of West Virginia’s population, or roughly 40,000 residents, may be eligible for a medical cannabis card when the program is fully mature. The Office of Medical Cannabis expects the permitted medical cannabis industry to mature alongside growing access to patients across the state.

The Office of Medical Cannabis encourages patients and those interested in medical cannabis to visit their website at or reach out to their office at 304-356-5090 for more information.

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