SALEM, Ore. (3/3/16)--Northwest Credit Union Association-backed (NWCUA) legislation removing criminal liability from financial institutions serving legal marijuana businesses has passed in the Oregon Legislature.
House Bill 4094 is expected to expand financial services currently available to legal marijuana businesses because it removes criminal liability for credit unions and other financial institutions (Anthem March 1).
“The bill is an important step for Oregon credit unions, providing some protections for those who serve the legal cannabis industry,” John Trull, NWCUA assistant vice president of regulatory advocacy, told News Now. “However federal restrictions are still in place, so we maintain our policy interest in reconciling those conflicts. To ensure public safety, these businesses need access to traditional financial services.”
The legislation awaits the signature of Gov. Kate Brown.
“The people of Oregon decided that cannabis is legal in this state,” Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro) told the NWCUA. “Because cannabis businesses are limited in the financial services available to them, this can create significant security and safety concerns that need to be addressed. Operating a cash-only business creates targets ripe for robbery and other crimes. This bill helps financial institutions serve cannabis industry clients, providing services that can alleviate those issues.”
The bill also directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Health Authority to provide financial institutions with information related to licensed or registered marijuana-related businesses, researchers and laboratories upon request.
The legislation directs the Department of Consumer and Business Services to study and report on any legislation or administrative action required to facilitate the financing of businesses that engage in production, processing or sale of marijuana and marijuana-derived products.