California Cannabis Banking Bill Clears Senate

The California Senate has voted to advance a bill aimed at solving the state’s cannabis banking problem by licensing and regulating limited charter banks and credit unions.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 36-1 to pass the bill, SB51, before sending it to the Assembly.

SB51 would create the Cannabis Limited Charter Banking and Credit Union Law as well as an advisory board which would include the Treasurer, the Controller, and the Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control who would collectively work to ensure the safe, efficient implementation of the law.

Under the bill, cannabis banks and credit unions would be able to issue special purpose checks to account holders for paying state and local fees and taxes, making rent and vendor payments, and purchasing state and local bonds.

The bill would also allow licensees to enter into agreements with one another to form banking networks.

Those interested in becoming licensed as a cannabis bank or credit union would be able to submit an application to form under the Banking Law or the California Credit Union Law.

Should the federal government eventually remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances or pass legislation to protect depository institutions that provide financial services to cannabis businesses, the Cannabis Limited Charter Banking, and Credit Union Law would be rendered inoperative.