CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Treasurer John Perdue announced Thursday a contract had been awarded in connection with the financial side of the state’s medical marijuana program.

Perdue reported successful negotiations with Charleston-based Element Federal Credit Union.

Element CEO Linda Bodie said the company was excited about the opportunity to serve the state.

“As stated in our proposal, we are prepared to file the required reports and develop the proper procedures to ensure this program is a success,” Bodie said in a news release.

None of the other companies that submitted RFPs protested Perdue’s selection of Element as the winning vendor.

According to a news release, “The Treasurer’s Office will begin taking check payments as soon as the permit applications are ready to be released through the Office of Medical Cannabis. Additional banking functions are expected to be added over time, including Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions and a voucher system.”

State lawmakers passed a bill that became law earlier this year, House Bill 2538, that opened the door for additional financial organizations, like credit unions, to bid for the job. Traditional banking companies initially showed lukewarm interest in handling marijuana money because of the questions surrounding the legality of marijuana.

Meanwhile, Office of Medical Cannibas Director Jason Frame told MetroNews last week his staff continues to work behind the scenes to be ready.

“We are staffing out the office by developing policies and procedures,” he said. “We are working with our contractors to make sure we can implement and release facility applications as soon as possible.”

Frame has said full implementation of the program is still about two years away.

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