CHARLESTON – Registration for medical cannabis use is open and pending in West Virginia, and pharmacies selling the products could be open for trading later this fall, according to Jason Frame, director of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Those who qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program – which is reserved for specific illnesses and ailments – can register for a two-year certification card by September 30th. Those who register after September 30th are entitled to an annual pass.

Applications can be made online through the State Department of Health and Human Resources at Last week the department hosted personal enrollments with the Kanawha-Charleston Department of Health for anyone required to register for the service.

“There are some people who didn’t make it for whatever reason, so they can come here and have the same opportunities,” said Frame.

The personal registration last Monday ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., appointments were arranged in advance. By noon, Frame said that about six people attended the service. There were a few appointments on the agenda for the afternoon.

Those wishing to enroll in the state’s medical cannabis program must provide photo identification, proof of residence in West Virginia, and a doctor-issued patient certification form confirming the patient’s need for medical cannabis.

Citizens with incomes less than 200% of the state poverty line can also provide proof of income to qualify for an exemption that offsets the cost of filing.

The legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Act in April 2017. The law legalized the use of medical marijuana for people with “serious illness” including cancer, HIV, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, post-traumatic stress disorder, “severe” chronic pain, and certain terminal illnesses, among others.

Debbi Hanna, a 58-year-old Charleston resident who came to the registration event on Monday, said she had waited a long time for the opportunity to gain access to medical cannabis.

“I try to get off the drugs that are addicting, that are not good, but I am in constant pain,” said Hanna. “I hope I have less pain with (cannabis) and it is generally safer.”

Hanna lives with some chronic health problems that make her pain worse. She is due to have hip surgery this week and is on a long road to recovery. Although the pharmacies are not yet operational, she is looking forward to the day they are.

“It would be of great help and I think it’s safer. God created (marijuana) after all, ”said Hanna. “I do, I really wish it was legal for everyone. It’s better than the alcohol, the other drugs, the other things people use for their pain. “

More than 2,000 people have signed up for the state’s medical cannabis program since the sign-up window opened in February. Patients will be served by 100 pharmacies across the state, which Frame says will be operational by winter.

There are 10 growers and 10 processors licensed to harvest the marijuana, which is sold in pharmacies in a variety of forms, including pills, creams, oils, vapors, plants, and tinctures, among others.

Frame said plants are already in the ground and are growing in preparation for an opening in late autumn.

“We’re on our way there,” Frame said.