Local retired combat veteran makes state’s first medical cannabis purchase

MORGANTOWN — Sgt. Ron Frye—a local retired and disabled combat veteran—had the honor of making West Virginia’s first legal purchase of medical marijuana Friday morning. Sgt. Frye, of Buckhannon, was selected to be the first patient and first veteran customer of Trulieve’s medical cannabis dispensary during the Morgantown location’s grand opening on November 12, 2021.

 Sgt. Frye proudly served in the United States Army for 19 years. In 2003, Sgt. Frye was hit by a roadside bomb in Mosul, Iraq. After seven long years of rehabilitative therapy, he was finally medically retired from the Army in 2010 and returned home with a Purple Heart. Although he had never used cannabis before, Sgt. Frye told The Record Delta, “I came home to West Virginia, and I’ve been fighting for the legalization of marijuana ever since.”

Legislators in the Mountain State legalized the use of medical cannabis in 2017, but those plans are finally just now coming to fruition four years later with the opening of West Virginia’s first dispensary. The state announced a multitude of licenses granted to the various companies permitted to grow, process and distribute medical cannabis last year, then finally began issuing medical cards to patients months ago. However, those permitted to purchase medical marijuana had no place to do so—until now!

Prior to his return home, Sgt. Frye said they had him on massive amounts of opioids. “I had to fight for 5 years to stop taking opioids,” he stated. “It took me a year and a half of weaning to come off of that poisonous substance and I’ve been clean since 2016.” Since quitting opioids, he said he has been utilizing CBD products and dealing with chronic daily pain, so finally being able to safely find relief at an affordable cost is a welcome change.

Sgt. Frye was eager to talk about his first experience at the Trulieve dispensary. When asked what the place was like, he jokingly said, “It’s like CVS and Chuck E. Cheese had a baby.” In all seriousness though, Frye added, “It was historical. I can honestly say that I participated in something that made history and I’m very proud of that—quite honored actually.”

For his first purchase, Frye bought two strains of ground dry flower that he will use in a vaporizer. During the day, he will use a sativa/indica hybrid for pain relief, and he will take an indica strain at night to alleviate PTSD, anxiety and nightmares. “I took the medication today, and so far, I am noticing a massive reduction in pain, but I am not experiencing intoxication or any psychotropic effects, so I am quite pleased,” he explained. “Two puffs and I’m good for about 6 hours, it seems.”

Frye expressed gratitude for his physician who helped navigate the process of obtaining a medical cannabis card, the folks at Armory Pharmaceuticals in Buckhannon for taking him under their wing during this difficult journey, Endo Solutions for educating him about the benefits of cannabis, and his wife, Keturah, for putting up with him over the past 25 years.

Located at 1397 Earl Core Road, Trulieve Morgantown is the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary. “We’re thrilled to be first to market in West Virginia and to continue building the foundation for the West Virginia’s emerging medical cannabis market,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers. “Our team is especially eager to leverage our first-mover advantage to bolster local economies by creating sustainable jobs and investing in marginalized communities. We look forward to serving West Virginia patients, who have been patiently waiting for this day to arrive, with an unparalleled retail experience and the high-quality medical cannabis products they can rely on for safe and effective relief.”

Trulieve Weston will open at 137 Staunton Drive on Monday, November 15. For more information about Trulieve’s Morgantown and Weston dispensaries, visit https://www.trulieve.com/dispensaries/west-virginia.


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