Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., introduced a bill that would ensure legal marijuana businesses can access banking services.
Currently, legal marijuana businesses do not have full access to the banking system because banks can be prosecuted under federal law for providing services to those businesses. This creates safety risks for the businesses because they must operate using cash, as they are unable to accept credit cards, write checks or access bank accounts, according to a release from Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., with whom Cramer is working. This also makes it more difficult for local and state governments to collect taxes.
The bill, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, prevents federal banking regulators from penalizing banks that work with legal marijuana businesses, but it does not require banks or credit unions to provide financial services to legal marijuana businesses.
Cramer also is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow legal marijuana and related businesses access to insurance coverage. Currently, federal agencies may penalize insurers that take out policies with businesses that sell or dispense legal marijuana.
Under this bill, the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana, federal agencies would not be able to penalize insurers who work with cannabis-related businesses or a state or tribe that exercises jurisdiction over those businesses.
“This legislation takes a federalist approach by opening the insurance market to compliant businesses and prevent federal law from hindering employees’ market access,” Cramer said in a statement.