420 with CNW – West Virginia Looks for Financial Institution to Handle Medical Cannabis Money

April 24, 2019 15:20:41

The Treasurer’s Office in West Virginia plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) by the end of next month (May 2019) inviting interested financial institutions to submit their proposals for handling the money generated by the state from the medical cannabis industry.

These funds will include license fees, fines, taxes and other revenues accruing from medical marijuana.

Earlier this year, the legislature passed a law to expand the scope of the types of financial institutions that could express interest in handling this money from medical marijuana. Credit unions and other non-traditional banking companies are now eligible to apply.

It should be noted that the traditional financial institutions, such as banks, have been reluctant to handle any marijuana money because they fear being caught in the middle of the divergent state and federal marijuana laws.

Currently, the RFP is being reviewed by a legal team and it will be released once the any legal kinks found are sorted.

Meanwhile, the Office of Medical Cannabis is moving ahead with its plans to get ready for implementing the medical marijuana program. They would like everything to be good to go so that once a financial institution is hired, the implementation plan can start being acted upon.

For example, the process of hiring staff (cannabis inspectors, for example) has already started and will be scaled up basing on how many entities express interest and are cleared to participate in the medical cannabis industry.

The Medical Cannabis Act, which was signed into law in 2017, provides for 10 medical cannabis cultivation licenses, 10 permits for medical cannabis processing and 30 permits for cannabis dispensing.

The law also stipulates that no single entity will be given a permit to grow or process cannabis, and another permit to dispense medical cannabis. However, companies can be both growers and processors.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, the entity which spearheaded the preliminary work of establishing the medical cannabis program, visited several states in order to learn how best to design West Virginia’s program. While best practices where picked from different places, the final look of West Virginia’s medical marijuana program resembles the program established in Pennsylvania.

The original plan was to start accepting license applications on July 1, but it seems this deadline will not be met. The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF), The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and the entire cannabis industry hopes that patients in West Virginia will not have to wait for an unnecessarily long time before they can access medical cannabis to ease their symptoms.

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