How to open a Dispensary in West Virginia

Medical cannabis was illegal in West Virginia until very recently. The bill legalizing marijuana for registered patient passed in April 2017 and still prohibits the sale of cannabis in its natural state. The Bureau of Health will issue a total of 50 licenses among retail, processor and cultivation businesses from 2019.

If you’d like to open a marijuana dispensary in West Virginia, there is plenty of time to research the rules and get started. We’ll provide some of what you need to get started, such as the legal and financial requirements for opening a marijuana retail.

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    As of April 2017, West Virginia is open for medical marijuana business only. Currently, the only acceptable products are medical cannabis by-products and extracts like oils, pills, gels, creams, tinctures, and ointments.

    When was cannabis made legal in West Virginia

    The state currently allows for 10 grower permits and up to 10 processor permits, and no more than 30 dispensary/delivery permits, all of which are regulated by the Bureau of Health. The licensing period has not opened yet, and the state has not indicated when licenses will be handed out. However, they are putting all the details together for implementation, with licensing happening in 2019.

    How many marijuana businesses are there in West Virginia?

    Currently, there are no marijuana businesses in West Virginia. Initially, the Bureau of Health decided that it will hand out 30 dispensary licenses, 10 manufacturer licenses, and 10 cultivator licenses.

    Owner requirements

    West Virginia will be ready for potential business owners in July 2019. The Bureau must set up a minimum of three regions within the West Virginia state for the purpose of granting permits to processors, growers, delivery services and dispensaries.

    The Statute explicitly states that the bureau will approve permits for marijuana businesses in a way that will ensure that all medical cannabis patients and caregivers in the state will have adequate coverage.

    License requirements

    The Bureau of Public Health – Office of Medical cannabis is currently the regulatory agency of the West Virginia medical marijuana program. Although the licensing period has yet to begin, some information has been made public such as the fact that businesses must use seed-to-sale software to track the cannabis sold in the state as well as follow explicit rules around and delivery, transportation, recordkeeping, security, and surveillance.

    The geographical requirements will also be considered, and priority will be given according to the following factors (listed by order of importance):

    License requirementsLicense requirements
    License requirements – Image powered by
    • Regional Population
    • Number of Patients per Region
    • Types of Condition
    • Access to Public Transportation
    • Approval by Local Authorities
    • Previous disbarment of marijuana businesses
    • Other parameters

    Financial requirements

    The initial application fee for retail businesses is $2,500. The amendment of an existing application will cost you around $250. After that, there is a license fee of around $10,000. Renewal fees are $2,500. A 10% tax is imposed on sales from growers/processors to dispensaries. Patients are initially charged $50 for a special ID card, which can be waived in cases of financial hardship.


    Especially since West Virginia has yet to distribute licenses, it will take some time to set up a marijuana business in this state. New businesses likely will not open until late 2019. However, once properly licensed, allow at least a year to meet the demands of starting any new business.

    Timeframe – Image powered by

    Looking to start a marijuana dispensary in West Virginia? The consulting companies can assist with questions about state licensing requirements and applications as well as running and stocking your business once its operational.

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