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News & Press: Sacramento Report

Marijuana Bank Bill Moves Forward - Again

Tuesday, June 18, 2019  
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In an attempt to provide banking services for the California cannabis industry, the California Senate recently passed Senate Bill 51 (Hertzberg) by a vote of 35-1. The bill would establish the Cannabis Limited Charter Banking and Credit Union Law and create special purpose banks and credit unions subject to regulation by the Department of Business Oversight to exclusively service the cannabis industry. The bill is sponsored by State Treasurer Fiona Ma. Senator Hertzberg’s attempt last year to create a limited purpose bank under Senate Bill 930 ended up failing to move out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Senate Bill 51 sets up a framework for limited charter banks and credit unions to service the cannabis industry. The concept is to allow for limited banking services in order for cannabis companies to pay taxes, property rent, and California vendors. There is no provision to use the banking services for the purchase of real property. If federal law eventually opens the door to banking services for cannabis companies then the state law would become inoperative.

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