Outside interests benefit from cannabis program | News, Sports, Jobs – The Daily Times   Recently updated !

CHARLESTON — After years of delay, West Virginia took a big step recently by selecting the first growers for its medical cannabis program, but West Virginia-based companies were largely left out in favor of out-of-state companies including a political donor.

The Office of Medical Cannabis within the Department of Health and Human Resources announced Oct. 2 the selection of 10 applicants for medical cannabis grower permits.

The medical cannabis program was capped by the West Virginia Legislature at 10 growers permits, 10 processor permits, and up to 100 dispensaries. While a person or a business can hold permits for all three permitting processes, no person/business can have more than 10 dispensary permits.

OMC is now scoring applications for processor and dispensary permits, with the goal of issuing patient cards by the spring of 2021. The office is also accepting physician registrations who would issue certifications to patients to use medical cannabis. Jason Frame, director for OMC, said the selection of growers was an important step for moving the medical cannabis program forward.

“It is a big step,” Frame said. “We at the Office of Medical Cannabis are very proud of that accomplishment. It’s major stuff and publicly viewable, where most of our work has been behind the scenes up to this point. Now the public will start seeing these facilities come to life.”

The 10 companies selected as growers are: 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; and Verano LLC.

According to a list of grower applicants released by OMC, the 10 selected growers were chosen from a total of 42 applicants who applied between December 2019 and February 2020. Of the 10

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