The legal cannabis industry does not operate in a vacuum and is dependent on Main Street businesses, CUNA wrote to the House Small Business Committee Wednesday, stressing the importance of protecting companies that directly or indirectly serve these businesses.
“Credit unions and other financial institutions operating in states where cannabis is legal risk serving cannabis-related businesses even without directly accepting them as clients. Indirect connections to cannabis revenue are exceptionally difficult, if not impossible to identify and avoid…Under the existing regime, a credit union or financial institution that does business with any one of these companies would be violating federal law,” the letter reads.
“Without access to mainstream banking services, cannabis businesses and the businesses indirectly related to them are less able to obey the law, pay taxes, and follow state regulations. The public safety risks posed by these businesses are easily mitigated through access to mainstream banking services and keeping the cash off the streets,” it adds.
While CUNA takes no position on legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, it supports legislation that would protect entities that serve legal cannabis businesses, including the House Financial Services Committee-passed Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595).
Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified on CUNA’s behalf about the public safety concerns that come with restricting cannabis businesses from accessing traditional financial services.