Cannabis Shortages in West Virginia Causes Delays for Dispensaries
Updated: Nov 1
West Virginia’s medical cannabis program went into effect in 2019, and the State has managed to get several dispensaries and a handful of cultivators online since then.
Whether it’s because of infrastructure, permits, or other unknown difficulties, cultivation facilities have struggled to open at the same rate as dispensary stores in the Mountain State, making it difficult for some stores to get inventory.
To make it a little more difficult, some dispensary stores also have cultivation or processing licenses while other dispensaries don’t have permission to cultivate cannabis, causing concern for the flow of inventory and leaving the option on the table for certain stores to be favored over others.
One company has seen exactly that struggle, with no cultivation or processing license, Greenlight Dispensary was forced to delay their store openings because of lack of inventory, and without more cultivators, this could be the fate for stores opening in the near future.
Greenlight Dispensary Forced to Delay Opening, Lack of Cannabis Inventory Available
7/10 Cultivators Currently Online in West Virginia
Greenlight Dispensary opened two locations in West Virginia, one in Lewisburg at 1747 Jefferson Street North followed shortly by one in Princeton located at 112 Expert Circle.
The two locations couldn’t open on time, though, as the multi-state operator reportedly struggled to open due to lack of cannabis inventory in West Virginia.
With only 7 cultivators online and more than 10 total cultivators approved, it makes sense that the State would be struggling to meet the demand from patients looking to purchase cannabis in West Virginia for the first time.
With over 8,000 registrations for a medical marijuana card in West Virginia and dispensaries only starting to open this year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that supply will likely have a few dips in between harvests with only a few cultivators operational.
Not Enough Cultivators Harvesting Cannabis in West Virginia
Greenlight’s apparent delay in opening is in response to a handful of problems caused by the lack of cultivators in West Virginia, both operational and non-operational.
With 10 approved cultivators, 7 are currently up and running in West Virginia, supplying the whole state network of dispensaries with cannabis grown from recent harvests.
The cannabis program, though passed in 2017, didn’t manage to get its feet on the ground until 2019, and it wasn’t until late last year that the State saw its first dispensary opening.
Cannabis does take time to harvest, especially at scale.
One of the critical problems with trying to flush the market with enough supply of cannabis to meet the demand without over producing is the expected demand, which is very difficult to figure out before there’s a supply to begin with.
The most efficient cannabis programs typically have a very large or unlimited number of cultivation licenses, while more restrictive programs usually favor approving fewer licenses to companies.
Without a solid grasp of the future demand from West Virginia medical marijuana patients, the State was unable to accurately predict the supply and demand accurately, which could have some negative consequences in the short future.
West Virginia’s Cannabis Supply Squeeze
When Dispensaries Come Online Faster Than Growers
When states pass medical marijuana programs, few seem to foresee the inevitable problems that arrive shortly thereafter.
West Virginia passed its medical marijuana program with intent to supply 10 licenses for cannabis cultivators. The cultivation of cannabis is the foundation of the cannabis supply chain, and it’s where cannabis gets created and funneled out to the rest of the market.
Cannabis cultivators are beholden to some of the tightest and most relentless restrictions at every level, and it takes time to move through those boundaries and install an operational production plant, especially at the size required for producing consistent cannabis harvests.
It’s also important to foster competition and give open grounds for companies to produce cannabis supply, because too few companies will create a monopoly and restrict the supply while driving high prices.
Too many cultivators and the companies won’t be profitable, causing a hike in prices too, so there’s usually a balance that legislators are looking for when determining the number of licenses to dish out, typically leaning on the shorter end of the stick.
Conflict With Licensing Could Cause Problems for West Virginia Marijuana
One of the weaker links in the chain of West Virginia’s medical marijuana program is how it’s licensing division approved licenses.
Some cultivation licenses were given to companies who also have dispensary licenses, and with a limited supply, would be an obvious conflict of interest for cultivators to supply specific stores while leaving their competitors high and dry.
With only 10 cultivation licenses that have already been approved, it’s unclear how cultivators will fairly supply independent dispensary stores, and it’s possible it doesn’t affect patients as severely, provided more cultivation facilities come online soon.
West Virginia can revisit the number of cultivation licenses that are available at any time, and it makes too much sense that legislators would take that approach if there were serious concerns about supply in the medical marijuana market.
And while dispensaries do have products, they don’t have a ton, at least not as much as we’ll see once all 10 cultivators are online. We hope to see most cultivators operational by 2023, alongside an increase in the number of registered medical marijuana patients, and hope that a fair and healthy supply of medical cannabis is available soon in West Virginia.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Certification in
West Virginia allows patients with qualifying conditions to apply for a medical marijuana certification. A medical marijuana certification allows you to legally purchase and possess medical cannabis to use as an alternative medicine.
You can even get your medical marijuana card online from the comfort of your own home with West Virginia Marijuana Card!
To get your medical marijuana card online in West Virginia, simply schedule your medical marijuana evaluation appointment today and get access to legal marijuana products available at dispensaries!
Being a West Virginia medical marijuana patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you. We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 877-303-8424 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia.
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If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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