The problem with marijuana and banking is no secret. Legal cannabis companies have long had to grapple with lack of access to banking, looking for marijuana banking solutions that exist in far too few a number.
But with the cannabis banking news out this week, the industry could see a big change when it comes to marijuana and banking. That’s because an influential House committee is looking at a new pot banking bill.
Cannabis Banking Gets its Day in Court
In May of 2017 Oregon’s Jeff Merkley and Colorado’s Ed Perlmutter introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The SAFE Act would prevent banking regulators from discouraging or penalizing banks in any way for serving the cannabis industry. The Bill also protects banks and bank employees from criminal and civil liability for serving state legal marijuana businesses. This bill is the most robust solutions to the marijuana and banking problem that Congress has entertained.
Today the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institution Subcommittee held the first of it kind hearing on the bill. Maps Credit Union is again taking the lead in cannabis banking.
Rachel Pross, Maps VP of Risk, testified related to Maps’ experience in serving the cannabis industry. The American Bankers Association (ABA) was also present to support the Bill and express their unwillingness to serve the industry unless the banking laws are changes to provide them with more protections.
Is This the Marijuana Banking Solution the Industry Needs?
Passage of the Bill is far from certain. While the House is taking the lead, the Senate has been resistant to approve any legislation for a marijuana banking solution.
Even if the SAFE Act is made into law, it still does not remove all the challenges for banks. In order to benefit from the protections of the SAFE Act, banks must ensure they are only serving state legal marijuana businesses. Banks will still be required to comply with FinCEN guidelines that require ongoing due-diligence and filing regular reports on their marijuana business customers.
Banking for Marijuana: How Banks Can Legally Do It
Gleam Law is lucky to have a resident cannabis banking expert. No, seriously. Of all of the people in the country weighing in on the topic, our own Alan Hanson is unique. He has 13 years of experience as General Counsel and Compliance Officer for a large credit union in Oregon. At that credit union, he established and ran their cannabis banking division.
To this day, it is one of the largest cannabis banking programs in the nation. In fact, it’s one of the banks to offer cannabis business banking that has passed audit by both state and federal bodies. And to this day, it is considered a sterling example of how to legally bank cannabis by both state and federal regulators.
If you’re a financial institution looking to cash in by providing a cannabis banking solution, now is the time. While this pot banking bill may not pass, it’s only a matter of time before some version does and the big banks get involved.
Download our free white paper on banking cannabis to find out exactly how your financial institution can legally do it as the law currently stands.