During the 2017 Session, the WV Legislature passed the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, allowing patients with qualifying diagnoses access to to medical marijuana, through regulated dispensaries. However, there was one thing missing from the bill.
Due to federal regulations, typical banking systems are unavailable to those wishing to enter this new industry in the Mountain State. This program has the potential to bring new jobs and development to West Virginia, as well new revenue for the State Government but all none of this can happen until the money issue is dealt with. Delegate Mike Pushkin (D – Kanawha, 37) explained his frustration on the matter to WV Metro News (below).
From WV Metro News
“We’re at the stage here soon where the fees for the licensing applications should be coming in and, to put it bluntly, we need someplace to put the money,” said Pushkin.
“If we don’t have anyplace to put the money, the program is on hold.”
Existing banks have indicated being uncomfortable or unwilling to process funds from medical marijuana because marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Earlier this month, state Treasurer John Perdue sent a letter to Justice proposing two possible alternatives: (1) establishing a state bank or (2) establishing a third-party loop system through a vendor.
Each option would require legislative action and, Pushkin said, lawmakers should be given the opportunity to act.
We're almost a year from the 2019 Legislative Session so the only way for lawmakers to deal with these issues at the moment would be through a special session call from the Governor. At the moment, this is one of a few controversial issues missing from the Governor's latest Special Session Call.
From WV Public Broadcasting:
much attention has been focused on issues not included as part of the governor’s special session agenda -- including the implementation of an integrity fee to the state’s new sports betting law and a fix to the medical cannabis program.