Nearly Five Years After Legalizing Medical Pot, West Virginia Opens First Dispensary – Culture Magazine


West Virginia has officially opened its first medical cannabis dispensary in the state, joining a plethora of others in the country moving toward cannabis reform.

It’s a Trulieve dispensary, which is the largest multi-state operator in the US, and the shop will be dubbed the Trulieve Morgantown, at 1397 Earl Core Rd. Trulieve will host a ribbon cutting before opening its doors to new patients on Friday, November 12.

The Morgantown location won’t be the state’s sole dispensary for long, as Trulieve plans to open a second retail location in Weston, at 137 Staunton Dr., on Monday, November 15.

Upon opening, West Virginia registered, age-verified patients with a valid medical card will be allowed to access Trulieve’s product line at both stores, including their own flower, concentrates, whole plant extract and cartridges.

“We’re thrilled to be first to market in West Virginia and to continue building the foundation for the West Virginia’s emerging medical cannabis market,” CEO Kim Rivers said in a press release, adding that the Trulieve team is eager to leverage their position to help bolster local economies, create sustainable jobs and invest in marginalized communities.

“We look forward to serving West Virginia patients, who have been patiently waiting for this day to arrive, with an unparalleled retail experience and the high-quality medical cannabis products they can rely on for safe and effective relief,” Rivers added.

Trulieve is currently operating in 11 states, leading market positions in Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania, and the company is positioning itself to continue that growth as cannabis reform continues to spread through the US.

The company first announced that they were looking to enter the West Virginia market back in February 2021, when they secured four dispensary permits from the state’s Office of Medical Cannabis. Trulieve then became the first MSO to commence cultivation in the state in July, at its 100,000 square foot Huntington facility.

“West Virginia patients have been waiting on medical cannabis for some time, and we are happy to announce we have planted our first crop,” Rivers said in July.  “As we have demonstrated in our home state of Florida, Trulieve is dedicated to providing meaningful access to patients. We look forward to introducing the Trulieve brand in the state, providing patients with the highest quality products to meet their medical needs.”

Between then and now, the company scaled its cultivation capacity to meet the expected patient demand, and they plan to open more dispensary storefronts across the state over the following year.

The release notes that, as of November 4, the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Medical Cannabis received more than 4,000 patient applications for the West Virginia medical cannabis program.

Looking ahead, Trulieve is establishing partnerships with community organizations in West Virginia, having already participated in several educational and community events in October and planning to continue its efforts assisting future patients and partnering with healthcare practitioners around the applications of medical cannabis.

The road to legalization in the state has been lengthy. The state legalized medical cannabis with the signing of SB 386, making it the 29th to pass medical cannabis law. However, more than four years later, the state is just now seeing its first medical dispensary. The state allowed patients to begin registering with the Office of Medical Cannabis to be approved for medical cannabis back in February.

Matt Simon, a senior legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, spoke to The Center Square about the slower implementation of the program in February.

“Patients in West Virginia have been waiting a long time for safe, legal access to medical cannabis,” Simon said. “It has been nearly four years since Governor Justice signed the medical cannabis bill into law, and there’s no reason the rollout should have taken this long. Other states have been able to implement similar programs in a fraction of the time it has taken West Virginia. Still, the fact that dispensaries have finally been licensed and patients are finally able to register for the program is an important step forward.”

He ended, “We look forward to the day that patients will finally be able to obtain medical cannabis from dispensaries in West Virginia.”

It looks like that day has finally come.



Source link