PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Health picked a company from San Ramon, California, to work behind the scenes as coordinator of the state’s new medical-cannabis program.

The five-year contract calls for software company Accela to receive $880,247. The state has three one-year options to extend the contract.

Accela is partnering with the Tacoma, Washington-based company cloudPWR on the work. Their relationship began in 2019.

The companies are providing an internet-based system for processing card applications from patients and their care-givers as well as cannabis license applications from businesses.

One feature will let law enforcement and licensed businesses verify identity of card holders. State officials will review all applications.

State government received seven offers in response to its April 26 request for proposals. Three advanced to the presentations stage and Accela was chosen for negotiation. Contract terms began September 29.

South Dakota voters approved legalizing medical cannabis in November 2020. The state Department of Health hasn’t yet started accepting applications from patients or care-givers.

The department faces a November 18 deadline to start issuing cards. SDDOH spokesman Daniel Bucheli said the system will be ready.

Asked for a key distinction that set apart the successful offer. Bucheli replied, “The proposal best met the state’s needs.”

The department’s final handful of proposed regulations for medical cannabis goes before the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee on Monday.

The department continues to consider offers for a cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system. That request for proposals was issued July 12. The offer deadline was August 23.

Three offers came in and all three made presentations. Negotiation hasn’t started.

“We are still in the review (and) contract offer process,” Bucheli said. “The department expects to have the system implemented by early 2022.”

The department web site on medical cannabis is here.