Pictured: A former U.S. Marine smokes medical marijuana in Belfast, Maine on November 21, 2014. A handful of recreational marijuana legalization drives has the medical pot industry bracing for something it never expected to deal with: competition. (Robert F. Bukaty, The Associated Press)

West Virginia may allow patients to smoke medical marijuana

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s medical marijuana board will recommend that state lawmakers allow patients who meet certain requirements to buy smokable forms of the drug.

The board met Tuesday afternoon and also plans to recommend that legislators increase or remove a cap on the number of growers, processors and dispensaries in the state, and allow a company to serve more than one of those roles — meaning a grower could also be a processor — the Charleston-Gazette-Mail reported.

The board did not approve adding any conditions to the list of conditions patients must be diagnosed with before doctors can recommend medical marijuana. In addition to limiting marijuana use to people with listed conditions, state law allows patients to start receiving medical marijuana ID cards in July 2019 but prohibits them from growing and smoking their own marijuana. It also sets fees for companies to get involved and limits the numbers of growers and processors to 10 each, and dispensaries to 30.

Related: What West Virginia’s medical cannabis program looks like so far

State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta said people can burn marijuana themselves if they want, “but that’s not what we’re advocating or recommending.”

The state Health and Human Resources Department plans to release a full list of recommendations. They will be presented to lawmakers, who are in session, within days, Gupta said.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail