West Virginia’s fledgling medical cannabis program is one step closer to fruition. West Virginia’s State Treasurer’s Office has received five bids to provide general banking and financial services on behalf of the State’s Office of Medical Cannabis (the “OMC”). The five competing bidders are:
- Element Federal Credit Union;
- Paul Fairbanks IFEB;
- MVB Financial;
- DMTLP; and
- JP Morgan.
While it is unknown when the State Treasurer’s Office will choose a vendor, receiving bids from financial institutions that are willing to process medical cannabis fees is a major step forward for medical cannabis in West Virginia.
In March of 2018, State Treasurer John Perdue informed the Governor, the respective leaders of the West Virginia Legislature, and various Cabinet officials that the Treasurer’s Office’s current banking vendors refused to process the permit application fees and other monies related to the State’s medical cannabis program. Without the ability to collect fees, the OMC was and currently remains unfunded.
During the 2019 legislative session, the West Virginia Legislature passed, and the Governor signed House Bill 2538, which provided the State Treasurer’s Office with the authority to competitively bid all banking and financial services relating to the State’s medical cannabis program.
Once the State Treasurer selects a financial institution to process the application fees for medical cannabis organizations, the OMC will thereby obtain funding and an avenue for the growing, processing, and dispensing of medical cannabis in West Virginia will become available.
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is actively monitoring the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act and is currently advising prospective medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries on regulated practices, facility considerations, and capital handling structures. If you have questions about the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, or how the Act can impact you, please contact one of the authors of this Cannabis Counsel Alert.