CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) is extending expiration dates for those patients who register early for a medical cannabis card. Cards typically expire after a year; however, as a bonus, all patients who register early or have already registered, will have the term of their card extended to the following:

• Register by June 30, 2021 = card is good for 3 years total (1 year original + 2 years extension)

• Register by Sept. 30, 2021 = card is good for 2 years total (1 year original + 1 year extension)

• Register after Oct. 1, 2021 = card is good for 1 year total

Eligible West Virginians with serious medical conditions can register for a medical cannabis card at www.medcanwv.org. Patients who have a household income of 200 percent of the federal poverty level may apply for a waiver of the $50 state card fee.

“OMC takes patient concerns seriously, including apprehension about product availability,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, state health officer and commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

“While permitted industry continues to work to build out facilities in the state, OMC will extend the card expiration date for patients who register early. Medical cannabis is an alternative treatment option for many suffering from chronic conditions.”

Industry facilities are currently under construction and are anticipated to become operational this summer. Cannabis plants require 3 to 4 months to grow to maturity for harvest. With these timelines in place, the first products are anticipated to be available fall of 2021.

David Heeter, founder and owner of Tariff Labs, said the Roane County-based company hopes to have medicine available to patients soon.

“Despite shutdowns and supply chain disruptions during the global pandemic, we’ve been able to complete our designs, obtain local approvals, and commence site work on our production facility in Spencer. Our locally-based team is honored and humbled to bring this much-needed medicine to West Virginia patients,” he said

Physicians interested in obtaining authorization to certify medical cannabis patients must complete a 4-hour course along with the registration application, which can be found at www.medcanwv.org.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act permits West Virginia residents with serious medical conditions to procure medical cannabis for certified medical use in the following forms: pill; oil; topical forms including gels, creams, or ointments; a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization; dry leaf or plant form; tincture; liquid; or dermal patch.

Serious medical conditions listed under the WVMCA are:

• Cancer

• Position status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome

• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

• Parkinson’s disease

• Multiple sclerosis

• Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity

• Epilepsy

• Neuropathies

• Huntington’s disease

• Crohn’s disease

• Post-traumatic stress disorder

• Intractable seizures

• Sickle cell anemia

• Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain

• Terminal illness that is defined as a medical prognosis of life expectancy of approximately one year or less if the illness runs its normal course

Patient cards are valid only in West Virginia. A list of physicians registered to certify patients as eligible for the use of medical cannabis is available on the website at https://dhhr.wv.gov/bph/Pages/Medical-Cannabis-Program.aspx.

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