As West Virginia gears to roll out its medical cannabis program by the fall of 2021, the state has taken to urging patients and citizens to register for medical marijuana patient cards.
The announcement comes as the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced Wednesday, May 19, 2021, that the Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) will be extending expiration dates for individuals who register for cards.
Brief Background of the Medical Cannabis Program in West Virginia
The Medical Cannabis Act, otherwise known as Senate Bill 386, was initially signed into law by Governor Jim Justice on April 19, 2017. According to the DHHR, this reportedly allowed a resident from West Virginia who has a serious medical condition to obtain and or use MMJ to address the said condition.
Eligible West Virginians will allow residents with serious medical conditions to access medical cannabis in its various forms, including topicals, pills, oils, vaporizations, through plant form, among others.
Among the medical conditions that qualify to avail of the program include cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, sickle cell anemia, chronic pain, terminal illness, immunodeficiencies, neuropathies, and many others.
For West Virginia, The Weirton Daily Times notes that a total of 10 grower permits, 10 processor permits, and up to 100 dispensaries have been allowed throughout the region. The delays of the product rollouts, however, come from difficulties in growing marijuana plants and the processing of these products for dispensary use.
Details for Patient Card Registration in WV
The extension of the medical marijuana patient cards has been leveraged by the DHHR to encourage more qualified patients in the state to register. WOWK reports that the cards have an initial expiry date of just one year.
However, as part of its initiative, WOWK states that the DHHR through the OMC has extended the expiration dates based on the registration date of patients. For example, individuals who manage to register by June 30, 2021, will have their medical cannabis patient cards for a total of three years.
Meanwhile, individuals who registered by September 30, 2021, will have their cards for a total of two years. After October 1, 2021, the cards will reportedly be good for a total of one year, notes WOWK.
The news site reveals that individuals whose household income falls into or below 200% than the federal poverty level can be given a $50 state card fee waiver. Interested applicants can course their registrations at www.medcanwv.org.
In a statement, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau of Public Health Dr. Ayne Amjad said, “There are many West Virginians who are experiencing chronic pain due to a serious medical condition. Registering for a medical cannabis card through the web portal will ensure these patients will have access to medical cannabis at the time products are available, which is anticipated by fall 2021.”
In line with this, Dr. Amjad also said, “OMC takes patient concerns seriously, including apprehension about product availability. … Medical cannabis is an alternative treatment option for many suffering from chronic conditions,” reports WBOY 12 News.