HARRISBURG, Pa. (The Center Square) – While medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania and there is continued pressure to legalize recreational use, the federal ban has banks and insurance companies reluctant to doing business with marijuana companies.
The risk of following state law but violating federal law complicates efforts to redirect black market drug sales to legal and regulated channels. A bill, SB1167won’t change federal law, but it could expand marijuana-related businesses’ access to financial institutions.
The legislation would explicitly authorize financial institutions and insurers to provide services to cannabis-related businesses. This is complementary legislation to proposed federal legislation to ensure that working with medical marijuana companies would not make other companies criminally liable.
“The SAFE Banking Act expands the provision of financial and insurance services to the state’s legal cannabis businesses by providing a safe harbor from adverse regulatory and legal action,” said Senators John DiSanto, R-Dauphin/ Perry and Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia. in one legislative note.
If passed, it could expand access to medical marijuana.
“We have taken an important step in dismantling another cornerstone of cannabis prohibition by laying the groundwork for cannabis patients to use insurance to obtain their medications,” Street said in a statement. Press release. “For too long, low-income patients in need of cannabis-based medicines have had their access limited to their ability to pay out of pocket.”
“Medical marijuana patients will never be able to use medical insurance for their legal cannabis medicine until this reform is passed,” Street said.
For businesses, limited access to banking services means they rely solely on cash transactions and need to take extra measures for security.
This problem could worsen in the coming years. Corn the opposition remains, hearings at the General Assembly generally been positive on the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. The potential increase in tax revenue has attracted senators, though issues of adjusting state law and federal law remain.