MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Dozens of people lined up with excitement in their eyes and glee in their voices for the opening of West Virginia’s first-ever medical marijuana dispensary, Trulieve.
“It feels incredible, you know, at Trulieve, we are all about providing patient access,” CEO Kim Rivers said. “And of course, to be the first medical marijuana dispensary in the state of West Virginia is an incredible achievement. The team has done a fabulous job and we’re very, very excited to serve the patients here, today, and in the future.”
Store hours in Morgantown are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.
Trulieve’s first customer was Ronald Frye, a U.S. Army Veteran who came with his wife. Frye is a Purple Heart recipient.
He and other veterans, Rivers said, can receive 20 percent off any store products.
Rivers gave Frye a chance to speak before going into the dispensary and he said he was “monumentally honored.”
He said it was an honor not only to be the first in the state but to represent thousands of West Virginia veterans.
“Thank you so much,” Frye added.
There was a lot of appreciation in the air from Frye, Rivers, and seemingly everyone who stopped by for the grand opening. A lot of that gratitude was directed toward county officials like Commissioners Tom Bloom and Jeff Arnett.
They were both on-site for the grand opening and so was Monongalia Co.’s Del. Danielle Walker.
“This is a light of hope,” Walker said. “When you heard the cheers outside, when you see the smiles when you see folks in their wheelchairs veterans, people who have TBIs, and we look at those folks and today they are just extremely happy. It is their choice. It is their liberty. It is something that they have been fighting for, for over six years.”
“When I see the familiar faces of Rusty Williams when I see a Purple Heart vet, the first customer at Trulieve in Morgantown, WV, if that doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, if that doesn’t make you fight for West Virginia to go green, then I don’t know what’s worth it.”
Finally, Walker said, patients have an alternative to opioids, which have devastated the state’s health and economy.
Rivers said she and her whole team were grateful to have Walker and other lawmakers present.
She, like everyone else, thanked them and also everyone else at the community level who worked to make Trulieve successful.
“I always like to start actually with the advocates and the advocate community, because if it were not for those of you who are citizens in West Virginia who have called who have emailed who have written, who have talked at hearings, really advocating for cannabis to be available in West Virginia,” Rivers said. “We know that we would not be here today, so quick shout out to all those folks joining us here today. Of course, there is Rusty Williams who is actually critical in terms of leading that charge with patient advocates.”
“In addition, of course, we want to thank all of the council members who are here with us today, as well as the commissioners who are here with us today. And of course, our state regulators, who have been working with us in order to get this location open. Actually, they have been very, very cooperative throughout this process. And it’s always a little bit of, you know, a process to get a market open for the first time and to get to this moment so it really is a team effort. And we’re very, very thankful for everyone working with us to achieve the first sale here.”
There’s no time for Trulieve to rest on its laurels because the company will be opening its second location in Weston on Monday, Nov. 15. Rivers said store hours will be Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
And then, it will open a third location in Charleston.
These times and days, like the initial offering of products, are limited, Rivers said. However, that will soon change. Store hours will expand and so will product offerings. Eventually, Trulieve will be able to offer everything from flowers to concentrates.
But to take full advantage, Rivers said, you must first register to be a patient.
On the website, you’ll find the West Virginia tab under “Dispensaries”.
“And there’s a find a doctor tab,” Rivers said. “And so, we try to make it very easy where you can actually filter by location to find a physician who is a recommending physician at a location near you. You’ll make an appointment to see that physician and they’ll process a certification for you in order to get a card. You’ll need to take that certification and then go to the West Virginia cannabis site, where you’ll need to upload that information so that you can get a certification with the state. And then, it’s really, really easy after you submit that documentation. It’s $50 in the state of West Virginia, to get a card. And then, you bring that card to us at any one of our locations and you’re ready to make a purchase.”
Rivers said they offer a number of first-time patient discounts and reminded patients to always make sure that they’re looking online for deals.
“We do want folks to get reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses that they have to go through in terms of getting to be a patient in the state of West Virginia,” Rivers said. “So, we’re always looking to make things as approachable as possible for patients here.”