Leadership from CUNA, the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) and state credit union associations across the country wrote to Senate Banking Committee leadership Wednesday to conduct hearings and discuss safe banking options for legal cannabis-based businesses.
“The lack of legal and regulatory guidance on banking for legitimate cannabis business has created a dangerous and costly environment for all involved since they now must operate on an almost all-cash basis,” the letter reads. “Not only do the employees have to transact with and transmit large amounts of cash daily, often tens of thousands of dollars at a time, but the states must also collect taxes and licensing fees in cash, which increases compliance and administrative costs for the state and the business…we urge you to move forward with hearings to explore remedies to these issues.”
The organizations support the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 (S. 1200) and the banking related provisions in the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act (S. 1028) and would generally support other similar measures that this committee may move forward with that would remedy the specific banking issues outlined in the letter.
The letter notes “there is no legitimate reason for Congress to postpone further discussion of, and action on, these genuine issues.”
While CUNA, AACUL and the Leagues take no position on the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, the organizations fully support allowing credit unions to serve those businesses in states where it is legal.
“This example of 360-degree advocacy underscores the strong bond between AACUL, CUNA and the Leagues, with credit union advocates across the country collaborating to stand up and support the credit union mission to serve the unbanked and promote community safety,” said Brad Miller, AACUL executive director.
In February 2019, Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified on CUNA’s behalf in support of the SAFE Banking Act, and emphasized the public safety concerns present when cannabis businesses cannot access the banking system.