Passing the House of Representatives with a vote of 56-3, House Bill 4094, which seeks to remove the criminal liability from state law to allow banks and credit unions to bank with, and lend to, lawful marijuana businesses, is now headed to the Senate for adoption.
"This is an important first step in reducing risk and providing security for banks, credit unions, and the public" said Tobias Read, the sponsor of the bill in the House. "Without a clear timeline from the federal government, the state needs a solution, even if it's temporary."
Currently, a tangle of federal laws are preventing legal marijuana businesses from accessing banking services, which shoulders them with a significant cash burden. Besides holding harmless those financial institutions that do business with the legal cannabis industry, the bill also instructs the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), an agency already responsible for communicating with the new industry in Oregon, to look into the state's options for the future.
"The need for baking reforms is nothing new to the cannabis industry," said New Economy Consulting's Sam Chapman. "However, now that a state agency has been tasked with the collection of cannabis tax revenue, the regulators, the state, and the industry are all in the same boat. This fact should send a clear message to Congress to accelerate their work on reforming banking laws at the federal level."
As testimony in support of the bill, Oregon Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Steve Marks said, "HB 4094 is an important vehicle for a continuing discussion to align US banking services policy with state law in order to allow legal commerce to be supported through access to banking services."
House Bill 4094 has now been moved to the Senate President's desk, where it is scheduled have its first reading Wednesday February 17th.
Source: New Economy Consulting