Is Weed Legal in West Virginia?
As current regulation stands, weed is illegal in West Virginia for recreational and personal use. Possession of any form of cannabis can range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. Although current medical marijuana use has been approved in the state and has passed the necessary legislative requirements to become legal, significant hurdles exist preventing the program from really taking hold in West Virginia.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in West Virginia?
Technically speaking, medical marijuana and its use for medical conditions are legal in the state of West Virginia. Governor Jim Justice signed the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act in 2017, making it legal for doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, in any form, to patients suffering from a range of illnesses, injuries, and ailments. The central portion of this act presented a planned timeline for when different aspects of issuing and distributing medical cannabis would be in place. In 2019, doctors began to certify patients who were eligible for medical cannabis to treat their ailments.
Where Can Patients Buy Medical Marijuana?
Unfortunately, as the regulation and rules are written in West Virginia, patients can only purchase medical cannabis from state-run health centers. The West Virginia Bureau of health is the only power in the state that has permission to sell medical marijuana to patients. Currently, none of these institutions exist, so medically approved patients can't receive their medical cannabis.
What Hurdles Does West Virginia Face with Medical Marijuana?
Although an established timeline to approve and distribute medical marijuana to patients was established years ago, making the regulation a reality and regular practice continues to struggle in West Virginia. Funding and failure to gain momentum within the state have significantly hampered efforts to make medical cannabis a common practice.
However, the tide may be changing. As recently as 2020, new funding sources for the medical cannabis initiative were approved, and the state now allows banks to partake in third-party funding. Further, the state has approved and picked its designated marijuana growers in October 2020, allowing cannabis production to start in the state.
What Are the Penalties for Possessing Marijuana in West Virginia?
Compared to other states, West Virginia has some of the strictest regulations for possessing cannabis as a recreational drug. Possessing just 15 grams of the plant will count as a misdemeanor offense. This penalty comes with a minimum of 90 days in jail and a maximum of six months in jail. For the first offense, a person can suffer up to a $1,000 fine. Further, ongoing drug testing and probation may be court-ordered for possessing marijuana.
In 2019, initiatives were put in place to decriminalize possession of marijuana in this state. Unfortunately, this initiative was rejected by voters, with a vast majority declining the proposed regulation.