Scanning the neatly stocked glass shelves at Coalfield Cannabis, a couple in their mid-30s on Monday afternoon examined their options.

The two had a large selection of CBD products to choose from, including all-natural pain-relieving creams, oils, vapes, bath bombs and gummies, among others.

While medical marijuana is not yet legal to possess, grow, process or distribute in West Virginia, industrialized hemp is. 

“Fortunately, industrialized hemp is legal under certain guidelines to be grown, processed and distributed in the state of West Virginia in relation to the farm bill,” explained Coalfield Cannabis owner Devonna West-Miller.

The West Virginia Legislature approved a bill in April 2017 that made medical marijuana legal in West Virginia; however, the program has stalled due to red tape, primarily around federal law and banking measures to handle marijuana dollars. 

On its website, the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis says the program is still in the “early stages of development” and they are not going to be able to meet the original timeline of July 2019.

In the meantime, Coalfield Cannabis says it only carries products containing less than 0.03 percent of THC, the psychoactive component of the plant, per the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) guidelines.

“We are very adamant and require this lab analysis from our distributors with each batch purchased. This information is then available to our patients to ensure the quality and legality of their product,” Miller said.

Miller, who’s been a pharmacist for 26 years, says she encounters a lot of coal miner patients in her pharmacy. They were a motivating factor in opening a cannabis store.

“Coal miners make up a majority of patients with debilitating pain which can affect their daily life. Being a disabled coal miner’s daughter, I had a personal passion to help these men possibly achieve a better quality of life,” Miller said.

The opioid crisis in southern West Virginia was the other motivating factor for Miller. She began to study CBD extensively and attended several seminars about it.

“We looked into a natural approach that studies have shown to help. Based on personal testimony and medical journals, my staff and I began to educate ourselves on the effects of CBD on the body… The more I learned, the more I was convinced this could possibly be a great supplement to help improve quality of life.”

She then opened her first cannabis store, Alternative Healing, in Oceana.

After finding much success with it, Miller, who’s also the owner of Westside Pharmacy and Floral, opened her second location, Coalfield Cannabis in MacArthur, in November.

Miller said Coalfield Cannabis prides itself on being education-based. Living up to that description, stacks of informative handouts are scattered throughout the store.

Staff are also able to give thorough information about ingredients, where the product came from, and the proper usage and dosing for every product sold.

“In my professional opinion, if you cannot see the analysis of the CBD product you are purchasing, you might need to think twice,” Miller said. “I encourage people to understand the purity of the product you are purchasing. This is imperative to the safety and efficacy of the product as well as the legality.”

Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana is also important, Miller noted.

“Cannabis is the family that hemp belongs to as well as marijuana. We sometimes confuse the two being that both are referred to as cannabis in a generalized manner,” Miller said.

Industrialized hemp plants that are grown and processed correctly yield a high level of cannabinoids, which is referred to as CBD. This hemp plant may also contain a trace of THC. 

“Our goal is to provide a legal, quality product with education that may improve the quality of life for ones in need,” Miller said. “We encourage people to visit our store and experience the professional atmosphere that we portray.”

Miller said she has devoted her career to the health care industry as a longtime pharmacist and takes patient illnesses very seriously.

“I have prided myself that I can make a difference in people’s lives with proper education and simple professionalism. I hope to carry these traditions in my cannabis stores.”

For more information, visit Coalfield Cannabis at 1910 Robert C. Byrd Drive in MacArthur, on Facebook or call 304-256-4367.

Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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