US (PA): Senate approves cannabis banking bill, sending it to the house

The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to safeguard banks and insurers against being penalized by state regulators for working with state-legal medical cannabis businesses.

The bipartisan legislation from Sens. John DiSanto (R) and Sharif Street (D) moved through two committees in recent days before being taken up on the floor and passing in a 46-3 vote. It now heads to the House.

This effort is yet another example of how states are working to provide financial protections to institutions that are willing to service the cannabis market as Congress continues to stall on a federal fix.

“Federal prohibition has forced the cannabis industry to deal with cash, as proceeds may be considered a federal crime,” DiSanto said on the floor on Wednesday, adding that the cash-intensive nature of the existing marketplace “makes dispensaries a target for armed robbery. Improved access to financial services will reduce this public safety risk,” he said. “Banking this cash in Pennsylvania will grow our economy and lower costs for medical patients.” 

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