Michigan lawmakers move cannabis banking resolution forward

LANSING – The Michigan House Financial Services Committee unanimously approved a resolution (H.R. 101) today urging the swift passage of the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019. The bill would prevent federal regulators from penalizing financial institutions that handle marijuana-related transactions if they are legal under state law.

“Cannabis companies operating in full compliance with state and local laws should have the same ability to access banking and financial services as any other legal business,” said Michigan Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Robin Schneider.

Cannabis is projected to become a billion dollar industry in Michigan, and the state ranks second to California as the largest marijuana market in the country. Most financial institutions, however, refuse to do business with licensed cannabis companies due to marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I substance.

Banks and credit unions are required by law to report suspected illegal activity. This can put small businesses that service the cannabis industry – such as website developers, law firms, and office supply companies – at risk if they deposit funds received from their cannabis business clients.

“The SAFE Banking Act has nothing to do with whether you support medical marijuana or believe cannabis should be legal for adults 21 and older. It’s about treating these highly regulated and legal businesses fairly as well as protecting the non-marijuana small businesses that do business with them,” said Schneider.

The SAFE Banking Act has received bipartisan support, having been approved by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on a 45-15 vote.

The Michigan resolution urging the bill’s passage now goes to the full State House for final approval.