Insights: Cannabis in West Virginia

Caroline Morris
June 28, 2018

Preparing for Cannabis in West Virginia

West Virginia‘s Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law on April 19, 2017 and allows residents with certain medical conditions to use medical cannabis if certified by a physician.


Discerning the Differences: What’s Different about the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Market?

West Virginias’ application and permit fees are lower than many other states
While this helps relieve some of the financial burden, capital requirements for medical cannabis businesses extend far beyond application and permit fees. Growers and processors must sign an affidavit that they have at least $2 million in capital, $500,000 of which must be on deposit with a financial institution, and dispensaries must have at least $150,000 in capital on deposit with a financial institution.

A Secondary Permit Market is Expected
Unlike many states, it is possible to change ownership of a medical cannabis organization in West Virginia, so be prepared for a secondary market for permits to form.

Quick Operational Turnaround
Applicants who are issued a permit must be operational within six months, at which time the Bureau will conduct an inspection of the facility. If a permitted business fails an inspection, it will have 30 days to submit a plan of correction and 90 days to implement that plan to the Bureau’s satisfaction; if it fails to do so, its permit may be revoked.

For those interested in opening a medical marijuana business in West Virginia, the time to start planning is now. You will need plenty of capital and a thorough, realistic business plan developed when applications are released in order to be operational within the short 6 month timespan. Contact us today and our team of experts will guide you through West Virginia’s state-specific regulations and position you for licensing success.

The Facts:

-Allowable forms of medical cannabis under the program: pills, oils, topical forms including gels, creams, and oitments, tinctures, liquids, dermal patches, and forms appropriate for vaporization and nebulization.
-Cannabis forms not allowed under the medical program: smoking cannabis flower, vaporizing cannabis flower, and consuming edibles

Application Requirements and Process:

-Summary of planned business operations related to: security; employee qualifications and training; transportation, storage, and labeling of medical cannabis; inventory management; nutrient practices and growing policies and procedures (growers only); quality control and testing of medical cannabis for potential contamination (growers and processors only); recordkeeping; preventing unlawful diversion; and, the ability to meet capital requirements.

-Properties are required for the application process; applicants must show evidence of legal title, an option to purchase, or an unexpired lease with a consent form from the property owner acknowledging that the facility will be used as a medical marijuana facility. Potential cannabis business properties must meet municipal zoning requirements prior to being considered by the State.
*Individual counties are allowed to opt out of the medical cannabis program in West Virginia, so securing a location in a cannabis-friendly county and complying with all municipal zoning requirements is extremely important.

-The Office of Medical Cannabis has established six regions that it will use to allocate permits across West Virginia: Eastern Panhandle, Northeast, Northern Panhandle and Northwest, Central, Southwest, and Southeast. No more than five dispensaries will be permitted in any one region. Within these regions, individual counties are allowed to opt out of the medical cannabis program. The Bureau will consider a county’s need for economic development when issuing permits.

Final Thoughts

It will cost more money than you think and it will take more time than you think to start a cannabis business, but it is absolutely worth the effort. Starting early, being well-capitalized, and getting guidance from those who have been successful, compliant operators is the key to putting yourself in the best competitive position to win a license.

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