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West Virginia Banking on Medical MJ

With wide bipartisan support, a bill that will help the state’s new medical marijuana program get off the ground is on its way to the West Virginia Senate. If enacted, the bill could also serve as an example to other states for opening banking opportunities to cannabis businesses.

HB 2538 would allow banking institutions to provide competitive bids to the state treasurer’s office to provide services for the state’s medical marijuana program. The selected banking institution would manage the Medical Cannabis Program Fund, where the treasurer’s office would deposit application fees, penalties and taxes collected from the program. The bill also offers legal protections for state employees who work to process program funds.

“This is a small-government, free-market approach to it,” said supporter, Delegate Mike Pushkin. “It’s simply allowing more folks to bid on it and see who would step up, and whose board of directors (would) accept a risk that hasn’t really been a risk in any other state, because there hasn’t been a single prosecution.”