David Gach

West Virginia Fails to Pass MMJ Reforms

The West Virginia Legislature failed to pass legislation to increase the number of medical cannabis licenses and open the door to patients accessing flower products, according to a WVNews report. The bill, which passed the House late last month, was heavily amended by the Senate and was unable to make it back to the House floor for a vote before the legislative session ended.

The measure that passed the House included:

  • Cannabis decriminalization.
  • Medical cannabis home deliveries.
  • Instructing the Bureau of Public Health to create a rule allowing flow products to be included in the state medical cannabis regime. That rule would have still needed to be codified by the legislature before becoming law.
  • Requiring the bureau to issue permits for up to 100 dispensaries

In amending the measure, the Senate removed the decriminalization, delivery, and flower language entirely, and reduced the number of dispensary permits to 50. The amended version, which included vertical integration – allowing companies to be cultivators, processors, and dispensaries – passed the Senate 26-7.

State Treasurer John Perdue has his own concerns about medical cannabis monies due to federal policy.

In a Mar. 1 letter, Perdue worried that the state-licensed cannabis businesses and the state’s banks could be opening themselves up to federal prosecution.

“Simply stated, all banks are subject to federal law, whether the bank is a state-chartered bank or a national bank. Because cannabis (marijuana) is an illegal drug under the Controlled Substance Act, financial institutions could potentially be violating federal law by accepting money derived from the cannabis industry, even if authorized by state law.” – Perdue, in a letter, via WVNews

Worth noting: When Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo he, reportedly, did not confer the decision with regulators at the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, who at the end of September 2017 had reported that some 400 financial institutions were offering services to cannabis industry operators.

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