Feb. 13, 2019

CONTACT: Shelton Roulhac, NASCUS Communications; sroulhac@nascus.org


NASCUS supports Congressional action that would resolve the conflict between state and federal law; Will convene a symposium in June to explore the issue in depth.

ARLINGTON, Va. –This afternoon, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing, “Challenges and Solutions: Access to Banking Services for Cannabis-Related Businesses.” At the hearing, the Committee considered a discussion draft of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act). According to a Majority Staff memo released ahead of the hearing, the SAFE Act, “would harmonize federal and state law concerning cannabis-related businesses and allow these businesses access to banking services.” The memo also asserts that the proposal would exempt financial institutions and their staff from federal prosecution or investigation solely for providing banking services to state-authorized cannabis-related businesses.

“Since Colorado and Washington legalized recreational cannabis in 2014, NASCUS has called on federal authorities to resolve the ambiguity around serving legal state cannabis businesses and related businesses,” said NASCUS President and CEO Lucy Ito. “Currently, state regulators and the financial institutions that they supervise are suspended between the uncertainty of federal enforcement action and the state mandate to serve the financial needs of their local communities. While we are encouraged by today’s hearing and agree with Representative Perlmutter that the hearing is a ‘big deal’ for financial institutions, Congress should continue to act and swiftly pass legislation that would clarify the permissibility of financial institutions to serve state-authorized cannabis-related businesses.”

NASCUS will explore the cannabis banking issue in depth at its inaugural “State Legalization of Cannabis and Banking Symposium.” The symposium will be held June 25 – 26 in Universal City, California in the greater Los Angeles area and feature industry experts and stakeholders. “The decision to provide financial services to cannabis-related businesses is filled with pros and cons for credit unions and their regulators, and at this meeting NASCUS will bring all parties together to thoroughly discuss what must be considered when serving or not serving this market,” continued Ito.

The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) is the primary resource and voice of the state governmental agencies that charter, regulate and examine the nation’s state-chartered credit unions. NASCUS membership is made up of state-chartered credit unions, state regulators and other supporters of the state credit union system. NASCUS is the only organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of the state credit union charter and the autonomy of state credit union regulatory agencies.