Sharon McCutcheon

West Virginia Opens 2nd Cannabis Banking Round After 1st Round Fails

Officials in West Virginia have canceled and reissued their request for banking solutions for the state’s upcoming medical cannabis industry after the first round’s five applicants failed to meet all of the state’s requirements.

Full story after the jump.

The West Virginia Treasurer’s Office has canceled and reissued its request for proposals for financial institutions to serve the state’s medical cannabis industry once it’s up and running, according to a News & Observer report. The agency rescinded the request after none of the five applicants who did apply met all of the requirements. 

Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed the banking legislation in April; later that month, the Treasurer’s office announced they were accepting applications for the program.

Del. Mike Pushkin, a Democrat, who championed the medical cannabis law, told the News & Observer that the delay would push back the timeline for the program’s rollout another few months and said, “it’s not such a big deal.”

“These things happen a lot when we’re bidding out to vendors in state government — that people don’t meet all of the mandatory requirements of that bid. It’s not uncommon. What’s uncommon is that it’s a bid that we’re watching so closely.” – Pushkin, to the News & Observer 

However, Department of Health and Human Resources spokesperson Allison Adler said late last month that it will take two or three years before patients have access to medical cannabis products in the state.  Office of Medical Cannabis director Jason Frame told the News & Observer that they “have a goal of two years from the time a banking solution is in place” to get medical cannabis products in the hands of patients.

The law passed in April of 2017 had an expected rollout date of July 1, 2019; however, Frame said that wasn’t mandatory and the agency is still putting together regulations and other work to get the program ready for patients.

“We’re going to have a web-based permitting system,” Frame said in the report. “We’re in contract right now, for the design of that system. We’re hiring staff, we’re implementing policy and procedures and designing those procedures.” 

The new round of bids to offer banking for the industry is open until the end of the month.

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