West Virginia medical marijuana banking bill becomes law

by Ike Obudulu Posted on March 27th, 2019

Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice on Wednesday signed House Bill 2538, which regulates handling of funds in conjunction with the state’s medical cannabis program authorized by the Medical Cannabis Act.

The bill allows the State Treasurer to select one or more financial institutions to provide banking services for the fees, penalties and taxes collected under the Act. It also creates a Treasurer’s Medical Cannabis Fund to receive all fees collected until the Treasurer is lawfully able to transfer money into the main reimbursement account of the state.

The bill will ensure West Virginia remains in compliance with federal law while handling funds associated with the state’s medical cannabis program.

To achieve that goal, the bill allows the state treasurer to select one or more financial institutions through a competitive bidding process to provide banking services for the fees, penalties and taxes collected in association with West Virginia’s medical cannabis program.

It also establishes the Medical Cannabis Program Fund, which will be used for the collection and sending of those funds as authorized under the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act.

When signing the bill into law, Justice emphasized his position that he is “adamantly … one hundred percent against recreational marijuana” but supports “medical cannabis for our people who are in so much pain that their physicians deem [medical marijuana] absolutely necessary.”

“But we have a lot of people and families out there who are truly hurting and if medical cannabis can help, we need to do everything we can to make life better for those West Virginians,” he said.

The bill also establishes an additional fund, the Treasurer’s Medical Cannabis Fund, which allows the state treasurer to charge fees for providing banking services under the Medical Cannabis Act, including fees for expenses incurred, oversight and compliance.

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