Vt. legislators hear of CU challenges serving pot businesses

January 25, 2016

COLCHESTER, Vt. (1/25/16)--In Vermont, legalization of recreational marijuana and providing financial services to dispensaries was a topic of discussion at the Statehouse.

In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee last week, Association of Vermont Credit Unions President/CEO Joe Bergeron said that the league has no position regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana in Vermont, but supports the rights of credit unions to choose whether to provide financial services to dispensaries (NewsLines Express Jan. 22).

Bergeron and Vermont Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Susan Donegan both noted that the federal treatment of marijuana as an illegal substance presents significant issues to consider for financial institutions choosing to provide services--even if the state legalizes recreational use.

Bergeron went on to cite how the situation being addressed by the Legislature is a prime example of the marketplace getting ahead of laws regulating the financial services industry.

The legalization of recreational marijuana at the state level likely doesn’t do much to alter whatever stance an individual credit union has on service to dispensaries so long as Congress hasn’t changed federal law, he noted.

Donegan presented a white paper from her regulatory agency that, among other things, highlights one Vermont credit union already serving one of the state’s four medical marijuana dispensaries.