CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) –The state’s medical marijuana program was approved over two years ago, but has run into no end of problems. At first federally-chartered financial institutions were concerned about handling the medical payments because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. The State Treasurer sent our requests for proposals, known as RFP’s to financial institutions who might work around that problem. But, so far no one has been approved.
“The good news is that we had five bidders. We have five potential financial institutions that have stepped up and want to do the business. Unfortunately they were not able to check off all the boxes on the RFP,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
Here’s a timeline for West Virginia’s medical cannabis law. It was signed by the governor over two years ago and was supposed to be in effect now. But many advocates say it could be two, possibly three more years, before medical marijuana products are available in the Mountain State, and that’s not fair to patients.
“We were pushing for this for cancer patients and other patients that can benefit from using medical marijuana, versus Oxycontin or other items we will see on the illicit drug market,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D) Kanawha.
“We owe it to the people that suffer from one of those 15 conditions that are listed in the bill. People who have cancer, people who have MS. People who are suffering in this state. We owe it to them to get it right,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
The banking issue could be fixed soon, but the licensing of growers, processors and dispensaries could take months if not years.
“Even though medical cannabis is technically legal now in West Virginia, patients cannot leave the state and buy the product elsewhere, then bring it back here for use. That’s because West Virginia has yet to issue the patient’s medical cannabis ID cards,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.