BECKLEY, W.Va. — Members of the Raleigh County Commission want to send a clear message they are medical cannabis friendly.

The county commission voted unanimously Tuesday to accept any operator seeking an permit from the state to operate any legalized medical marijuana operations in Raleigh County.

“It’s more or less to affirm to those seeking a permit that Raleigh County is a place in which they would be able to come in and operate pursuant and in compliance with the zoning laws which exist,” said Jeff Miller, county administrator for the Raleigh County Commission.

State code requires any applicant who obtains a permit to produce, process, or distribute medical marijuana product to submit a letter to the DHHR Bureau of Public Health Office of Medical Cannabis and a letter from the county stating they approve of the activity. Miller said members of the commission wanted to get out in front of it, as a potential economic development activity to court medical cannabis operators into the county.

“For those wishing to apply for permits in the state of West Virginia, Raleigh County is one of the first, if not the first, to proactively reach out to the state and say we are allowing permits to be issued within our county,” said Miller.

The application period for medical cannabis operating permits is open in West Virginia until Feb. 18.

There’s no requirement for the commission to take the action, but Miller said commissioners David Tolliver, Linda K. Epling, and Ron Hedrick were all in favor of creating the standing letter of acceptance.

“I would say a portion of it would be symbolic, but we felt as though it would be best to have this on the agenda, take a formal vote, list it within our minutes, then send a letter to the state to let them know we have done this,” Miller said.