CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — The West Virginia State Treasurer is recommending two possible banking solutions for medical marijuana.
On Thursday, State Treasurer John Perdue announced that he submitted a letter to Governor Jim Justice with two options that would require legislative action.
West Virginia lawmakers legalized medical marijuana in 2017. But earlier this year, banking vendors on contract with the state notified the Treasurer that they will not accept deposits related to marijuana sales.
This comes after the Trump administration lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on marijuana trade in states where the drug is legal.
The two recommended options include passing state legislation that would strengthen the State Treasurer’s authority to create and implement a third-party loop system through a vendor or passing legislation that would create a State Bank within the Treasurer’s Office.
The Treasurer says the loop system would monitor and facilitate the financial transactions between the State of West Virginia and entities associated with medical cannabis.
The state-owned bank option would create a bank owned and operated by West Virginia. This is similar to what the State of North Dakota does.
“It is my fiduciary responsibility to follow state laws and conduct the banking business of the state in a safe and secure manner,” Perdue said. “Up until this time, my office was not part of the planning process for implementing medical cannabis, however, when we became aware there might be a state banking issue related to this, we began researching options and took steps to actively address the issue,” said Perdue.
Perdue says there hasn’t been any additional guidance on the federal level.