In 2017, West Virginia became the 29th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana. Although recreational marijuana use remains illegal, qualifying patients can easily access cannabis products with a West Virginia medical marijuana card.

It took four years for the MMJ program to take full effect, with the first medical cannabis dispensary only opening in Morgantown in November 2021. Several more dispensaries opened across the state in 2022, and as of 2023, there are multiple places for MMJ patients to buy marijuana. 

Since recreational marijuana is illegal, a West Virginia medical marijuana card is currently the only way for locals to access cannabis products. Only people with certain medical conditions can qualify for an MMJ card. 

Below, we explore the Mountain State’s MMJ program and how to obtain a medical marijuana card.

Medical Marijuana in West Virginia

Marijuana has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Although it’s endured much controversy over the last century, there has been a turning point in recent times, with more people appreciating the plant’s therapeutic value.

Over the last decade, the cannabis plant has propelled itself to new heights in the medical field. Although it’s still federally illegal, several states have legalized it recreationally, while others have introduced MMJ programs to make it accessible to those with certain medical conditions.

States like West Virginia, which prohibit recreational use but have legalized medicinal marijuana, still show apprehension towards the plant but are embracing its potential medical benefits.

Each state has its own list of qualifying medical conditions from which a person must suffer to be eligible for the state’s MMJ program. To qualify for a West Virginia medical marijuana card, there is a list of 15 conditions. These include cancer, epilepsy, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD.

Patients certified by a doctor to have one of these conditions are eligible for the state’s MMJ program. If approved, they can access up to a 30-day supply of cannabis from a licensed dispensary. 

Not all forms of cannabis are approved by West Virginia’s MMJ program. Edibles are currently banned, and patients are prohibited from smoking cannabis. Here is a list of the cannabis products medical dispensaries can sell:

  • Oils
  • Tinctures
  • Pills
  • Topicals (creams, lotions, gels)
  • Liquid
  • Dermal patches

Home cultivation is prohibited in the Mountain State, so buying from an approved dispensary with a West Virginia medical marijuana card is the only way to legally obtain cannabis. 

How to Get a West Virginia Medical Marijuana Card

You must have a West Virginia medical marijuana card to buy cannabis from a licensed dispensary in the state. So, how do you go about obtaining one of these cards?

Firstly, check the state’s complete list of qualifying medical conditions. If you have one of these conditions, you are eligible. However, this doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an MMJ card. You need to submit an application, and the state will either approve or deny your request.

Here are the steps to follow.

1. Book an Appointment with a Licensed West Virginia MMJ Physician

The first step to getting an MMJ card is to consult with a doctor. You will only qualify for the MMJ program if the doctor approves your use of medical marijuana. If they determine that you suffer from one of the qualifying conditions and could benefit from marijuana-based treatment, they will write a recommendation to the state approving you. 

You can find a list of approved physicians on the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) website. 

2. Consult with the Physician

You will consult the doctor in person, online, or over the phone to discuss your medical conditions. They will require a full medical history from you, along with medical records, to back up your claims. 

If you are diagnosed with a qualifying condition and approved for medical marijuana by the doctor, you will receive a Patient Certification form.

3. Register with the State

Next, you will sign up for the West Virginia medical marijuana program, which you can do online. This entails filling out an application form and submitting a passport photo, government-issued ID, and proof of residency. You must also upload your doctor’s certification and pay the $50 application fee. 

4. Wait for your Card

Within 30 to 60 days of submitting your application, you will receive an email update on your application status. If approved by the state, you will be issued a West Virginia medical marijuana card and free to shop at the state’s licensed medical dispensaries. 

Final Thoughts

In states like West Virginia, where recreational marijuana use is prohibited but medical marijuana is approved, MMJ programs offer some much-needed relief to those who could really benefit from marijuana’s therapeutic properties. 

If you suffer from one of the state’s qualifying conditions and are approved by a licensed physician, you are eligible for a West Virginia medical marijuana card. This allows you to visit licensed cannabis dispensaries in the state and purchase marijuana-based products.