Today, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health announced the members of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
• Arvinder Bir, MD, Huntington
• Colonel Jan Cahill, Superintendent, West Virginia State Police, South Charleston
• Michael J. Deegan, Social Worker, Cross Lanes
• Michelle R. Easton, PharmD, Charleston
• James Felsen, MD, Great Cacapon
• W. Jesse Forbes, Esquire, Charleston
• Rahul Gupta, MD, Commissioner and State Health Officer, Bureau for Public Health, Charleston
• Joseph Hatton, Horticulturalist, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Charleston
• Kimberly Knuckles, Pharmacist, Beaver
• Rudy Malayil, MD, Huntington
• D. Keith Randolph, Prosecuting Attorney, Madison
• Joseph Selby, MD, Morgantown
• Russell A. Williams, Patient Advocate, Nitro
“The appointment of West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board members is an important step in the development of the program in our state,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “The Board is part of a transparent and accountable process critical to ensuring a comprehensive system that will help citizens suffering from debilitating diseases like cancer.”
Senate Bill 386, creating the Medical Cannabis Act, was signed into law on April 19, 2017, by Governor Jim Justice and becomes effective on July 5, 2017. Under the direction of Dr. Gupta, who will serve as the Board’s chairman, the DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health is in the preliminary stage of developing an implementation plan, including a legal determination of what rules will be necessary to fully implement the Act.
Per the legislation, DHHR may not issue the patient and caregiver identification cards necessary to obtain medical cannabis until July 1, 2019. Up to that time, the Bureau will issue formal rules in a sequential manner to implement the Act. The rules will begin with requirements for growers and processors so they may begin to produce products, followed by detailing requirements for dispensaries and physicians, and requirements for the registration of caregivers and patients.
DHHR will be setting a date for the first meeting and announcing that soon. More information may be found on the Medical Cannabis Act at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph.