New medical marijuana dispensary now open in Morgantown

Apr. 2—MORGANTOWN − A medical cannabis dispensary named Cannabist opened their fourth dispensary in West Virginia next to the old Aldi on Don Knotts Boulevard Friday morning.

To celebrate the opening, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held with employees and members of The Partnership executive team at the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce. The store also offered 20% off on all products all day. A security guard stodd watch checking ID cards and medical marijuana cards, which were required to enter.

"Everytime a medical state opens up, we look at that and say, 'Hey, is there a need for a really good provider to come in?' So, we definitely looked in West Virginia and saw that need," Cannabist West Virginia Regional Manager Keri Stan said.

Cannabist is owned by Columbia Care and has 84 locations in 17 states. At the Morgantown location, they currently offer Columbia Care's Seed and Strain brand in vape products and flower options, but are hoping to expand to a larger variety soon. They offer indica, sativa and a hybrid strain.

The main goal for Stan right now is to focus on educating people and destigmatizing medical marijuana use.

"Any dispensary, when you operate in a community, your job is to educate patients and educate your communities to help show that we're here to help improve the communities," Stan said.

Cannabist Morgantown Manager Tricia Hill said dispensaries are becoming increasingly popular because they are very helpful for a variety of people.

"They're huge. I've actually seen children with epilepsy benefit from marijuana because it lessens their seizures everyday. It gives them a life not on big pharma," Hill said.

Hill also explained that medical marijuana is also beneficial to veterans who might be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Senior sales associate Garrett Clayton agreed.

"There's a big hole in pharmaceuticals and medicine with Mylan leaving, I think people are starting to realize we can do more with homeopathic medicine use and alternatives to opioids and things like that," Clayton said.

When they opened at 10 a.m., there were already a few customers waiting in line. Customers Daniel Wright and John Getz said they were excited to go inside. Getz said he had been eyeing Cannabist online and wanted to check it out. They both said their experiences with the other two dispensaries in Morgantown had been OK − their time in the store was nice, but lacked in customer service.

Clayton said he was excited about the opening and the opportunity to educate patients. He said all of the employees work well together.

Within the first 30 minutes of opening, Clayton said they had sold around $3,000 worth of merchandise. Clayton explained that 3.5 grams of product costs $50, which can seem expensive to some, but they are paying for medical grade and quality cannabis.

The future of dispensaries in West Virginia seems to keep growing. Clayton said that steps towards the possibility of legalizing marijuana usage recreationally seems closer, but there will still likely be years before that is an option.

"Here in West Virginia, it's just exploding and it's going to keep exploding," Hill said. "We need something like this. Coal is going out. We love our coal people and our coal miners, but I think, right now, the dispensaries are coming in and even helping our old coal miners who have back or lung issues. So I think it's helping them out, too."

Cannabist in Morgantown does not take tips, like some dispensaries, but they do have donation boxes for the Humane Society. Stan said every store partners with a local charity, which helps show their commitment to helping the community.

The store is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 225 Don Knotts Boulevard.

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