Following a ribbon slicing, a line of consumers waited exterior the doorways of southern West Virginia’s first medical hashish dispensary on Friday, unbothered by chilly temperatures and snow flurries.
The Cannabist, situated at 300 Galleria Plaza in Beckley, celebrated its grand opening although shares had been in brief provide with demand outstripping provide throughout the state for a brand new business that depends on a product that must be grown and processed earlier than it may be distributed.
Earlier than prospects might stroll into the dispensary, they had been required to point out their medical hashish card in addition to an ID earlier than the safety guard would allow them to by means of a keypad-protected door.
Jeff Darby, 63, stated he drove all the best way from Alderson to be one of many first in line Friday morning.
Darby stated he utilized for his medical hashish card in December and has been eagerly awaiting a dispensary to open close by.
For years, Darby stated, he’s been prescribed a spread of painkillers to deal with his rheumatoid arthritis.
“(The painkillers) by no means actually labored, after which there’s the negative effects of all that,” he stated.
Darby stated he is aware of medical hashish shall be a significantly better therapy possibility for his affliction and simply wished West Virginia lawmakers hadn’t taken so lengthy to make it authorized.
Practically 5 years in the past, on April 19, 2017, Gov. Jim Justice signed the state’s medical hashish invoice, SB 386, making West Virginia the twenty ninth state to move a medical hashish legislation. The invoice handed the Senate in a 28-6 vote, and it handed the Home in a 76-24 vote.
“It is pure — one thing grown proper out of the earth,” he stated. “To me, which means lots. It is obtained to be extra wholesome than some man-made chemical.”
When requested if he had any expertise with hashish, Darby simply laughed and stated, “I’m 63 and grew up within the ’70s, so that ought to reply your query.”
Owned by Columbia Care, Cannabist is one among seven medical dispensaries open in West Virginia, based on the West Virginia Workplace of Medical Hashish web site.
Of these seven dispensaries situated in Williamstown, Huntington, Morgantown, Weston and Parkersburg, solely 4 are listed as “with product.”
The dispensaries “with product” are Columbia Care’s places in Beckley and Williamstown, which additionally lately opened, and Trulieve’s Morgantown and Weston places, which opened in November.
Keri Stan, Columbia Care’s regional supervisor for hashish shops in West Virginia, stated that though they do intend to supply each medical hashish product that they legally can, for the time being, the one product they’ve on the Beckley location is dry flower for vaporization.
“We hope to increase on that … as a result of this system is so new, we have to get cultivation, they have to undergo the method of getting flower to extract and take by means of the method after which manufacture it. Flower was type of the quickest factor to get to market,” she stated.
Along with receiving 5 dispensary licenses from the state, Columbia Care additionally has a growers and processors license by means of the state, which suggests they will develop and manufacture their very own merchandise.
That facility is situated in Falling Water, which is in Berkeley County.
Per state pointers, all hashish merchandise offered in West Virginia dispensaries should be grown and processed within the state.
Even with restricted merchandise, Stan stated they’ve had a number of prospects come by means of the store, which opened earlier within the week for a smooth opening.
She added that the purchasers have been excited, optimistic and stuffed with questions.
“It’s a new market so everyone’s a brand new affected person,” Stan stated. “There’s been a number of deal with schooling. Ensuring that folks perceive the various kinds of choices, the totally different types of administration … Lots of people are confused in regards to the guidelines; (we) simply assist make clear that as finest we are able to and accomplice with the state to make it possible for everyone’s getting correct info.”
Stan says Columbia Care at present has dispensaries in 17 states together with Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
She added that Columbia Care can be hoping to open two extra Cannabist dispensaries in Morgantown and St. Albans within the spring, in addition to a fifth location later in 2022.
For extra details about Columbia Care’s West Virginia places, go to gocannabist.com/wv.