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US (PA): Senators approve cannabis banking protection bill

As federal cannabis banking reform continues to stall in Congress, a Pennsylvania Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bipartisan bill to safeguard banks and insurers against being penalized by state regulators for working with state-legal medical cannabis businesses.

The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee unanimously approved the legislation, which is sponsored by the panel’s chair and minority chair, Sens. John DiSanto (R) and Sharif Street (D).

At the hearing, DiSanto recognized that while there’s federal guidance in place for banks and insurers that choose to work with state-legal cannabis businesses, they are not “immunized” by federal law because it remains a federally controlled substance—a situation that has made many financial institutions reluctant to take on clients in the industry.

This has “curtailed access to conventional banking and insurance services that are essential for operating any business,” he said. “Safely banking the state-legal cannabis industry removes a public safety risk and is an opportunity to grow our economy and should ultimately lower costs for medical patients.”

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