STATES Act is ‘Reasonable and Sound’ Approach to Cannabis Banking Issue

CUNA wrote in support of House and Senate companion bills Thursday that would clarify the federal treatment of marijuana where it is legal and permit credit unions in those states to serve members’ related needs. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2019 was introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in the Senate and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio).

“The STATES Act would provide credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits from, extending credit or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in marijuana-related commerce in states where such activity is legal with legal protections, so long as they are compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations,” the letter reads.

“Furthermore, the legislation makes clear that compliant financial transactions do not constitute trafficking or result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction, providing additional clarity to credit unions and the members they serve.

“This is a reasonable and sound approach. We look forward to working with you to advance your legislation into law,” it adds.

While CUNA takes no position on legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, credit unions in states where it is legal have members and member businesses that need access to financial services.

Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified on CUNA’s behalf before Congress in February. She detailed how her credit union has helped remove more than $500 million in cash from the streets of their community, and how giving legal cannabis-based businesses access to financial services is a public safety issue.