West Virginia chooses Credit Union for Medical Cannabis Program

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office has issued a Notice of Intent to Award on the Medical Cannabis Banking Request for Proposal (RFP).

Today, the State Treasurer’s Office notified the entities submitting proposals that Element Federal Credit Union has been selected as the apparent winning vendor for the Medical Cannabis Banking contract. In accordance with the RFP and the Notice, each vendor will have until noon on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, to file a written protest as to the award. Copies of the technical proposals received and the cost proposal of Element Federal Credit Union are posted on the State Treasurer’s website at www.wvtreasury.com.

Beginning today the State Treasurer’s Office and Element Federal Credit Union will be meeting and negotiating to finalize issuance of the purchase order. Until the purchase order is issued, no other information will be released and the blackout period remains in place.

After the issuance of the purchase order, the State Treasurer’s Office and the selected vendor will announce additional information, including long-term goals and interim procedures for medical cannabis banking.

“My staff has worked tirelessly to make this program viable,” said Treasurer Perdue. “I look forward to awarding this contract and moving forward with a banking process. My main priority is to help people in our state who want this medical option for either themselves or a family member.”

Today’s announcement comes less than two months since the reissuance of the medical cannabis banking solicitation on June 28. The original RFP was canceled and reissued after none of five bidding vendors met the mandatory requirements. As a result, the mandatory requirements were reduced and clarified and the RFP was reissued.

Treasurer Perdue has been proactive on the medical cannabis banking issue since the state’s contracted banking vendor notified his office of its unwillingness to participate in a state sanctioned medical cannabis program in February 2018. Prior to the release of the RFP, the Treasurer’s Office released a Request for Information (RFI) in search of banking solutions for sales, fees, licenses, taxes and other financial transactions related to state sanctioned medical cannabis in West Virginia. Two entities provided general business briefs, but did not respond to the request with useful information.

At the same time, the Treasurer’s Office reached out to Congress and the U.S. Treasury asking for commonsense legislative changes and clear banking guidance regarding medical marijuana-related transactions. Treasurer Perdue also worked with the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) to support federal law changes.

Earlier this year, Treasurer Perdue worked with state lawmakers to pass HB 2538, which expanded the definition of financial institutions that could bid on the medical cannabis banking business and made various other changes in the law to facilitate obtaining a vendor to perform the required banking duties.

An official purchase order and more information is expected to be released next week, pending the successful conclusion of negotiations.

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