WASHINGTON — The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing Tuesday, July 23, on “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives.” A variety of stakeholders have been invited to testify, including the bill’s sponsors, bank and credit union officials, and LivWell Enlightened Health CEO John Lord. 
 
Mr. Lord currently serves as chairman of the board for the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF). His testimony will focus on his experience as the operator of a vertically-integrated cannabis company in Colorado, which has grown from a single store and cultivation facility in 2010 to multiple locations that employ more than 650 people and generate more than $100 million in annual revenue.

“This hearing is yet another sign that Congress is taking the cannabis banking problem seriously and intends to take action to correct it,” said CTF CEO Neal Levine. “Cannabis businesses operating legally under state and local laws should have the same access to banking and financial services as any other type of business. 

“We are grateful that the Committee has invited the chairman of our board of directors to discuss the challenges of operating a cannabis business without full banking services,” Levine said.  “With his decade of experience complying with regulations in this constantly evolving industry, John has a perspective shared by few others in the country. We expect his testimony will be educational for members of the Committee and make a compelling case for the SAFE Banking Act.”

The SAFE Banking Act (S. 1200) was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in April and currently has 31 co-sponsors. It would prevent banking regulators from penalizing banks and bank employees for providing financial services to state-legal cannabis businesses, reducing the uncertainty and risk that deters many banks from working with cannabis companies and ancillary businesses that work with them. The House version of the bill (H.R. 1595), introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and co-sponsored by 206 members, was approved by the Financial Services Committee in late March and has been cleared for consideration on the House floor.
 

WHAT: Senate Banking Committee hearing on “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outsider Perspectives”

WHEN: Tuesday, July 23, 10 a.m. ET
WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 538
WHO: Committee members and witnesses including:

• Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)

• Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

• John Lord, CEO of LivWell Enlightened Health and Chair of the Cannabis Trade Federation Board of Directors

• Rachel Pross, Chief Risk Officer, Maps Credit Union

• Joanne Sherwood, CEO, Citywide Banks

• Garth Van Meter, Vice President of Government Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana