Is Marijuana Legal in the State of West Virginia?
In West Virginia, recreational cannabis is illegal, as marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Even possessing small amounts of weed can result in criminal charges. However, the Mountain State has legalized medical marijuana, which means that qualifying patients can be registered with the state, allowing them to purchase it from state-licensed dispensaries in places such as Morgantown or Lewisburg.
History of Weed Laws
On April 19, 2017, Governor Justice signed SB 386, or the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, which established the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission, allowing for a statewide medical marijuana registration program. The law determined that on July 1 of 2019, the state would begin authorizing medical patients to purchase cannabis. But, due to numerous financial obstacles, the program has been postponed indefinitely, meaning that medical marijuana is not yet available for purchase in the state.
In 2019, medical cannabis laws were amended through SB 1037, in order to offer clarifications pertaining to authorized physicians, grower permits, sales tax and dispensary and processor requirements, while also offering more legal protections to both patients and physicians.
Then, in May of 2019, HB 2538, the West Virginia Treasurer permitted banking institutions to bid for the approval to act as third-party vendors in the medical marijuana industry of West Virginia. But, no bidders were able to meet the requirements set forth by the state.
As of now, the state’s Bureau of Health is tasked with developing emergency rules and regulations for the state’s medical cannabis industry. The Bureau of Public Health oversees the state’s medical marijuana program.
Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in West Virginia?
West Virginia law states that approved medical patients can purchase cannabis from any state-approved dispensary. They may purchase up to a 30-day supply at a time, with the exact amount that qualifies as a 30-day supply determined ahead of time by the patient’s physician.
Although there are no laws regarding delivery services provided by dispensaries, municipalities can ban dispensaries from delivering to patients.
It is illegal to smoke cannabis flower in West Virginia, and the state only recognizes the following cannabis products as legal for medical patients:
- Non-flower vaporization products
While edibles cannot be purchased, patients can legally make their own edibles at home.
Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?
It is strictly illegal for medical patients to consume cannabis in public, as they must do so only on private property. It is also illegal to consume cannabis in rented properties that prohibit marijuana use, and vehicles. This state has relatively strict laws about performing tasks under the influence that could be classified as negligent, which includes operating aircraft and watercraft.
Patients are allowed to possess up to a 30-day supply of cannabis at any time, and what constitutes as a 30-day supply is determined by the patient’s physician based on their medical needs. Employers may not discriminate against patients, although they do not need to allow patients to consume marijuana during work hours. Any patient who possesses more than a 30-day supply at any time can face criminal charges.
Can Residents Grow Their Own?
Patients are strictly forbidden from growing their own cannabis, as the state does not authorize any resident to cultivate marijuana. Failing to adhere to this law could result in criminal charges.
WV’s marijuana program is overseen by their Bureau of Health, who manages the application process for patients. Once a patient is approved by the state, they will be provided with a medical card that allows them to make purchases from authorized dispensaries.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe chronic or intractable pain if conventional treatment has proved ineffective
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord damage
- Terminal illness
How to Register for Medical Marijuana in West Virginia
No application process exists yet, as the state is still establishing the laws regarding how patients can apply. There will be a $50 fee for applying, which can be waived due to financial hardship, once an application process is provided to medical patients in West Virginia.
Qualifying as a Caregiver
Patients can designate a caregiver if they are unable to purchase cannabis themselves, and patients younger than 18 can only designate a parent or legal guardian to act as their caregiver. A caregiver must be at least 21 years of age, and can only provide care for up to 5 patients at a time. Caregivers must undergo a criminal background check before approval.
Registering as a Caregiver
The exact process of applying as a caregiver on behalf of a patient has not yet been established, but there will be a $50 application fee.
It has yet to be determined whether or not West Virginia will recognize the right for out-of-state cardholders to purchase cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. As there are no dispensaries yet set up in the state, no such laws currently exist.
Laws pertaining to cannabis lab-testing have yet to be established by West Virginia.