Is marijuana legal in West Virginia?
Current legality status
Cannabis is legal for qualified patients with a licensed card.
Recreational cannabis use is not legal in West Virginia.
Medical marijuana is legal in West Virginia, in the form of dry leaf or plant form, pills, oils, gels, creams or ointments, extracts consumed through vaporization or nebulization, tinctures liquids, and dermal patches.
However, while the medical use of marijuana was legalized by legislation passed in 2017, the system is not yet functional. It is projected to be up and running by 2021. Patients will be able to possess a 30-day supply.
In the absence of licensed dispensaries and a formal registration process for patients, possession of marijuana remains illegal in West Virginia.
Possession of any amount may result in a misdemeanor conviction, up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. Sale, distribution, and cultivation are also illegal, with offenders facing a felony conviction, a mandatory one year jail sentence, and a fine of up to $15,000.
Legislation introduced in 2019—HB 2331, the Normalization of Cannabis Act (HB 3108), and HB 2376—would have decriminalized marijuana and established a system whereby it would be regulated and sold for recreational use, but all have stagnated.
West Virginia medical marijuana laws
Medical marijuana was legalized by the passage of SB 386 in 2017, which created the Medical Cannabis Act. The original legislation did not allow for the sale of cannabis flower, but SB 339, passed in 2020, added “dried leaf or plant” to the acceptable forms of medical cannabis.
The program is not yet operational due to delays in setting up banking regulations for cannabis dispensaries. This was formally resolved by the passage of HB 2538 in 2019, which established a system whereby financial institutions would bid to provide banking services for the fees, penalties, and taxes collected by the program.
Patients will be allowed to possess a 30-day supply of medical cannabis.
Home cultivation is not permitted.
West Virginia qualifying conditions for medical marijuana
Qualifying conditions are physician-diagnosed ailments that can be treated by medical cannabis, and in West Virginia these include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Intractable seizures
- Sickle cell anemia
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin, or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective as determined as part of continuing care.
- Terminal illness, with a prognosis of one year or less to live*
*Note: Terminally ill cancer patients may be able to obtain cannabis from another state prior to the full implementation of the program. Contact the Bureau of Public Health Office of Medical Cannabis for information before attempting to purchase cannabis from another state.
The medical marijuana program in West Virginia is projected to take effect in 2021. For more information, please refer to West Virginia Medical Cannabis Program FAQ. (Note: The linked FAQ is slightly out of date and does not reflect the recent addition of smokable cannabis to the acceptable forms that may be prescribed.)
How to get a medical marijuana card in West Virginia
Once the program is operational, patients will be able to apply for a medical card online. They will need to provide:
- Certification that their condition is eligible from a physician
- Proof of residency
- Application fee
Does West Virginia accept out-of-state medical cards?
West Virginia does not accept out-of-state medical cards.
However, terminally ill cancer patients may be able to purchase marijuana from other states that have entered into a reciprocity agreement with West Virginia. Be sure to contact the Office of Medical Cannabis for further instructions if you feel you might be eligible.
When does my West Virginia medical marijuana card expire?
Because the program is not yet operational, it is unclear when cards will expire.
Got your medical card? Find a dispensary in West Virginia
West Virginia marijuana growing laws
West Virginia does not permit home cultivation of marijuana.
West Virginia public consumption laws
Public intoxication is illegal in West Virginia. Penalties would likely be assessed according to marijuana possession laws. Possession of any amount may result in a misdemeanor conviction, up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.
West Virginia cannabis DUI laws
Even in medical-use and adult-use states, it is illegal to drive while under the influence. Although West Virginia is a medically legal state, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis.
A person is guilty of a DUI if they operate a vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance or drug, or knowingly permit their vehicle to be driven by someone under the influence.
A person suspected of a DUI is deemed to have given consent to provide a sample of breath, blood, or urine for testing. No penalties shall apply for a refusal to submit to a chemical testing for drugs.
Medical marijuana patients may not operate their vehicle if THC concentration of their blood is 3 ng/mL or above, whether or not THC is considered to be a metabolite.
- First offense: Up to six months in jail, $100-$500 fine, up to six months driver’s license revocation
- Second offense (within 10 years): Misdemeanor; mandatory six months and up to one year imprisonment, $1,000-$3,000 fine, up to 10 years driver’s license revocation
- Third and subsequent offenses (within 10 years): Felony; mandatory two years and up to five years’ imprisonment, mandatory $3,000-$5,000 fine, lifetime driver’s license revocation possible
For more information, please refer to West Virginia Code, Chapter 17C, Article 5 §17C-5-2.
West Virginia cannabis testing regulations
Cannabis must be tested per the 2017 legislation, including “a test at harvest and a test at final processing.” Samples must be tested for solvents, pesticides, water activity and moisture content, heavy metals, foreign material such as hair and insects, microbial contaminants, and amounts of THC and CBD, as well as other cannabinoids.
Common questions about marijuana legalization in West Virginia
Is recreational marijuana legal in West Virginia?
No. Only medical marijuana is legal in West Virginia. Several pieces of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana have stagnated.
Can you get a medical marijuana card for anxiety in West Virginia?
West Virginia’s list of qualifying conditions does not include anxiety. There is a provision that will allow healthcare systems to petition for research studies on serious conditions.
Can you get a medical card with a felony in West Virginia?
People convicted of drug felonies may not be employed by medical cannabis organizations. Caregivers convicted of drug felonies within the past five years may not receive a medical card. There are no restrictions on felons who are patients.
Can you grow your own cannabis in West Virginia?
Cultivating cannabis at home in West Virginia is not sanctioned by law and can result in incarceration or a fine.
Are vape pens legal in West Virginia?
Yes, the legislation specifies that “a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization” is legal.
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