Harrisburg, PA - Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann along with a coalition of financial regulators from 24 other states and territories sent a letter today asking Congressional leaders to consider legislation that creates a safe harbor for financial institutions to serve businesses operating legally under state law or entrusts states with the full oversight and jurisdiction of marijuana-related activity.
“A majority of states now have medical marijuana programs and it has become increasingly necessary to craft policy to respond to emerging challenges in this rapidly growing industry,” said Wiessmann. “Establishing a safe harbor for banks to serve these entities would help reduce the risk associated with large cash-and-carry operations and bring the safeguards, activities, and sales associated with this business into the regulatory reporting compliance framework.”
The regulators cite a lack of clarity by the federal government for how financial institutions can serve this industry, without the threat of forfeiture of assets or criminal penalties, which results in many transactions occurring in cash. They shared their concerns with respect to public safety, increased difficulty of tracking the flow of funds, and contributions to a loss of economic activity, workforce development, and community development opportunities.
In late March, the House Financial Services Committee reported out the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 with bipartisan support. The bill would allow financial institutions to serve state compliant marijuana-related businesses and require federal banking agencies to issue regulatory guidance.
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