CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice signed the medical marijuana banking bill into law Tuesday, allowing bidding for financial institutions to provide banking services related to the state’s medical marijuana program.
The legislation, House Bill 2538, also establishes the Medical Cannabis Program Fund for collecting fees related to the program and the Treasurer’s Medical Cannabis Fund allowing the state treasurer to collect monies for banking services.
Justice said Tuesday he fully supports opening access to medical marijuana.
“I will say, adamantly, I am 100 percent against recreational marijuana. 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 added.
Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, who co-sponsored the bill, said he was happy to see Justice sign the bill.
“I think that if we allow different types of entities to act as a depository, then we are more likely to find somebody to step up and do that business,” he said.
Justice has yet to act on House Bill 2079, which addresses issues with the original medical marijuana bill, including the permitting process and regional distribution requirements.
“If it doesn’t go into law and we don’t address the business side of this, I’m afraid we might just have an empty bank account for a year,” Pushkin said.
Justice has until midnight Wednesday to act on bills from this year’s 60-day legislative session.