HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Following a Monday night ribbon cutting, city leaders in Huntington got a personalized tour of a new medical cannabis education center open along Third Avenue.
TerraLeaf opened its new location downtown, starting with the education center. Next door, a dispensary is set to open in the coming months as more crop and product become available.
Dignitaries got a chance to meet with staff and learn more about the different elements of cannabis and methods of consumption.
Owner Chris Visco understands the need for alternative forms of pain relief in a community ravaged by the opioid crisis.
“My goal is that we save peoples lives,” she said. “That we make a difference. The stories we’ve heard here are heartbreaking.”
An open house will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday for the public to come and speak with industry experts, learn about the products and what options are available to them.
“Most importantly we teach people how to microdose so they can live their lives without being impaired,” Visco said. “The stigma is, you use marijuana, you’re stoned off your butt. You’re laying on the couch all day, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Visco says they were able to help reduce opioid deaths by 25% at her other locations in Pennsylvania.
“We can get it to 40 or 50 percent,” Visco said. “We’re committed to spending the time in this community, working with drug treatment programs, homeless shelters. Where people are out on the street using fentanyl.”
The Education Center will help residents and give potential patients an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about different terpenes and strains. Staff are also there to help patients apply for a medical cannabis card with the state.
“I would tell patients get your cards now, even though there’s not a lot of product,” Visco said. “Because you having your card increases your chances of getting the product more timely.”
Two medical cannabis dispensaries are currently open — one in Morgantown and one in Weston.
According to the West Virginia DHHR Office of Medical Cannabis, 4,901 patients have applied for medical cannabis cards. Officials say the number of patients applying for a card has increased 150 percent since the two dispensaries opened a few weeks ago.
Three growers are actively growing plants. They anticipate more facilities will be opening in early 2022.