CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — Industry leaders now believe medical cannabis could be sold in West Virginia next year. This after the State Treasurer selected a financial institution to handle the money. Element Federal Credit Union, a West Virginia-based institution, was the winning applicant out of four bidders, including heavy hitters like Chase Bank. Soon the Department of Health and Human Resources will be able to accept bids from companies hoping to be marijuana growers, processors, or medical cannabis dispensary owners.

“I’ve got confidence that the state is going to do everything that they can, to move this as fast as possible. And I think you’ll be able to buy medical cannabis in the calendar year 2020,” said Michael Haid, a prospective medical cannabis bidder.

Applicants for the state’s cannabis licenses will have to prove they have several hundred thousand dollars, to a few million dollars in the bank, to show they are viable. Many hope the growers, processors and dispensary licenses will be awarded by the end of this year. By law, the product must be made available to patients six-months after that.

“We really need to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sick and suffering people out here, that could benefit from medical cannabis,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D-Kanawha).

The best estimate right now, is that legal medical cannabis will be available for sale in West Virginia, mid-to-late next year.

Now the three financial institutions that lost out on the bidding for West Virginia’s medical cannabis banking have one week to protest or appeal that decision. But short of that, Element Federal Credit Union will be getting the state’s cannabis business.