The House of Representatives is expecting to hold hearings on a bill this week which would give legal cannabis companies easier access to traditional banking options. If the legislation goes forward, and passes, it would be a positive change for an industry which has faced significant hurdles regarding finances.
As noted in the McClatchy DC piece linked below, due to cannabis still being illegal on the federal level, “banks that deal in the industry could be liable for charges of money laundering if the Department of Justice chose to prosecute them. Rather than take that risk, many banks have elected to not participate in the industry…” A draft of the bill was released yesterday. Among other provisions listed within its text, it would prevent federal banking regulators from terminating or limiting deposit/share insurance on a depository institution solely because it provided financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business. It would also prevent regulators from encouraging institutions to avoid such businesses. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated he will not support cannabis legalization. Nonetheless, the fact that members of the House are pushing for this concept is a step in the right direction.