Credit unions need a safe harbor to legally serve ancillary cannabis businesses

June 20, 2019


June 19, 2019 

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) today sent a letter for the House Committee on Small Business ahead of its hearing on the cannabis industry. Credit unions in states where cannabis is legal still run the risk of serving cannabis businesses even without directly accepting them as clients. Indirect connections to cannabis revenue make it increasingly difficult to identify and avoid.  

Under current law, any financial institution that accepts deposits from cannabis-related businesses is in violation of federal law. CUNA has consistently advocated that Congress provide a safe harbor for financial institutions that serve state-sanction cannabis businesses from criminal penalty.  

“The simple reality is that the cannabis industry does not operate in a vacuum and is dependent on main street businesses,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote. “These include the office supply company that provides copy paper, the landlord that rents office space, or even the utility company providing electricity and water.” 

Without access to mainstream banking services, cannabis businesses are less able to obey the law, pay taxes, and follow state regulations. The public safety risk could be easily mitigated by providing financial services to these businesses, ultimately keeping cash off the streets.  

Read the letter in full here.   


About CUNA:          

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America’s credit unions, which are owned by 115 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit To find your nearest credit union, visit 


Lauren Williams        
CUNA Communications