West Virginia officials have awarded 10 medical cannabis cultivation licenses more than three years after the state legalized medical cannabis, the Inter-Mountain reports. However, most of the licenses were issued to companies that are either based, or have principal offices and company officers in, other states.
The companies selected include:
- Armory Pharmaceutical Inc.
- Blue Ridge Botanicals Ltd.
- Buckhannon Grow LLC
- Columbia Care WV LLC
- Harvest Care Medical LLC
- Holistic WV Farms I LLC
- Mountaineer Holding LLC
- Mountaineer Integrated Care Inc.
- Tariff Labs LLC
- Verano LLC
Jason Frame, Office of Medical Cannabis director, called the license awards “a big step” in the process, adding that the state used a Scoring Review Team to make recommendations for licenses. That team, Frame said, was not required to give preference to West Virginia-based businesses. He indicated that four of the 10 chosen firms are “majority-owned” by West Virginians.
“We thought we had a well-rounded scoring team based again on their backgrounds. They were very diverse in that group. They looked at things, like the operational plans that the facility submitted, their security plans, plans to prevent diversion, which of course is our primary mission with the Office Medical Cannabis, and also the background and education on the folks that will be working there also.” – Frame to the Inter-Mountain
Of the denied businesses – 32 in all – 13 had principal offices in the state with residents as managers and directors; five included a mix of West Virginians and out-of-state interests, the report says.
Mike Weaver, owner of Redbud Hill Naturals LLC, which was denied a license, said he spent $250,000 trying to secure a license, which wiped out his retirement savings.
As part of the application process, cultivation applicants had to pay a nonrefundable application fee of $5,000, a $50,000 permit fee, and were required to have a minimum of $2 million in assets, with $500,000 in cash in deposit at a bank to be considered.
“If I can use what I had to try to help other folks – not only with the medical cannabis itself, but to create all these jobs here in our area – I was willing to stick my neck out and do that. And this is what I get out of it?” he said in an interview with Inter-Mountain, adding that the application reviewers “should have been given a priority” for in-state applicants.
The state’s law only allows medical cannabis products in pill, oil, topical, or vaporized products. In June, officials said medical cannabis sales were still two to three years away.