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West Virginia Bill Would Give Banking Access to Cannabis Companies

A bill allowing state-licensed medical cannabis companies to access banking services in West Virginia has passed both the state House and Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature.

Full story after the jump.

The state Senate of West Virginia has passed a bill that would enable banking services access for medical cannabis companies, according to a story by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

House Bill 2538 was approved in a 29-4 vote in favor by the Senate. The bill — which originated and already passed in the state House of Representatives — now heads to Gov. Jim Justice’s (R) desk for his approval or veto.

HB 2538 would allow medical cannabis providers to more easily pay their state fees and taxes. Should the governor sign the bill into law, credit unions, national banking associations, bank and trust companies, loan associations and other financial services businesses would be able to bid for the ability to provide services to the cannabis industry. Winners would be selected by the state treasurer’s office. The bill would also create a state fund where growers, processors, and dispensaries would be able to submit all fees and taxes via the new banking system.

“What it attempts to do is seek to find a mechanism for financial institutions to compete and provide financial services related to the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Trump (R-Morgan) told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

The lack of banking access remains a critical issue for the U.S. cannabis industry. HB 2538 was only proposed, however, following an advisory decision from the attorney general that noted there has been no federal action to date against similar programs.

Assuming the bill receives the governor’s signature and there are no delays, the program would begin on July 1.

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