Leaders in West Virginia announced the official start of the state’s medical cannabis business licensing process. The state’s medical cannabis program, which was expected to launch this past July, is currently behind schedule.
According to the West Virginia Gazette Mail, folks who are planning to open up businesses involved in cultivation, processing, distribution and laboratory licenses will be able to apply with the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis starting Dec. 19. The window for taking applications will stay open for 60 days before regulators issue licenses.
Medical cannabis was first legalized in West Virginia in 2017 and legislators set a July 1, 2019 start date for the program. At that time, state officials were concerned about how the industry was going to gain access to legal banking and they chose to delay the start date.
Since then, lawmakers have made efforts to find a solution for cannabis banking. West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue recently awarded a banking contract to Element Federal Credit Union in South Charleston, West Virginia. “This is a key step in the process to make medical cannabis available to West Virginians with serious medical conditions,” said Jason Frame, director of the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis in a news release on Nov. 17. “We and many others continue to work toward a goal of providing eligible West Virginia residents the ability to procure quality-tested medical cannabis.”
Like officials in many other states, West Virginia is one of many that has previously been slow to legalize. However, announcements such as Mike Tyson’s company growing hemp in West Virginia have given the state extra press overage on the topic. A recent state survey shows that many local medical patients want access to cannabis, and if this program continues to progress, patients should be able to access medical cannabis by summer 2021.