California Senate passes legislation to create state-chartered cannabis banks
- The California Senate approves legislation to create state-chartered cannabis banks to help the industry get around restrictions on access to banking services.
- Under the state legislation, private banks or credit unions can apply for a limited-purpose state charter so they can provide depository services to licensed cannabis businesses.
- Passage in the nation’s most populous state could add pressure on the U.S. Congress to federally legalize banking for the marijuana industry.
- “It’s hard to imagine an industry that at this point is as large as, like, craft beer that does not have banking as we have come to know it,” says Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
Santa Rosa Press Times
Plan to create special cannabis banks moves forward in California
SACRAMENTO — Shut out of the traditional banking system by federal laws, the country’s largest legal marijuana market in California could benefit if the state approves a measure creating a special class of banks to handle pot money.
The state Senate voted 35-1 on Tuesday to pass a bill that would allow people to start banks and credit unions that could accept cash deposits from marijuana retailers.
Those banks could issue special checks to the retailers that could only be used for certain purposes, including paying taxes and California-based vendors.
State lawmakers also say such banks would make it easier for licensed pot retailers to pay their taxes, which fell far short of expectations in the first year after legalization.
“This is as close as we can get until the federal government changes its policy,” said Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Van Nuys Democrat and the author of the bill that now goes to the Assembly.