The Pennsylvania Senate approved legislation April 13 that would authorize financial institutions and insurers to provide services to the state’s medical cannabis businesses.
Senate Bill 1167, introduced by Sens. John DiSanto and Sharif Street, would allow, but not require, banks and insurance providers to serve Pennsylvania’s state-legal cannabis businesses.
The legislation would protect financial institutions and insurers that provide services to the cannabis industry from state penalties, essentially codifying the state’s existing climate of regulatory nonenforcement.
“Improved access to financial and insurance services is vital for protecting public safety and is essential to operate any legal business,” DiSanto said in a public statement. “Banking this cash safely in Pennsylvania will grow our economy and lower costs for medical cannabis consumers.”
While some cannabis businesses have been able to utilize local and regional banking in the U.S., options are limited while cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter has long advocated for banking reform at the federal level through his Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which has passed the House six times but has failed to gain traction in the Senate.
Pennsylvania lawmakers have taken matters into their own hands with S.B. 1167, which now advances to the House for consideration.