CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia is making progress on getting its medical cannabis program off the ground. Four financial institutions have now submitted bids for handling the banking aspect of the program. Initially, some banks worried about prosecution, since marijuana remains an illegal drug at the federal level. The banking fix is seen as critical.
“Well I can’t really say that much on that right now because they’re being evaluated, the bids. But I’m excited. I think we are taking a giant step forward. And we’ll have more on that coming soon here,” said West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue (D).
It is hoped that a financial institution will be selected from among the four applicants before the year is out. But the program may not be able to offer medical cannabis products for another year or two.
“Patients need this now. We don’t need to wait two more years. We’ve got people when they are diagnosed, may not live long enough to get access,” said Rusty Williams, the Patient Advocate on the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
The legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Act almost two and a half years ago. The products were supposed to be available by last month, but the banking problem prevented that.
Once a financial institution is selected, the state will begin taking applications for those who want to be medical cannabis growers, processors, or dispensary operators.