Senate Committee to Discuss the Need for Cannabis Banking Reform

July 22, 2019

Members of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs are scheduled to hear testimony tomorrow regarding the need to provide greater access to financial services for state-licensed marijuana-related businesses.

The Senate hearing, titled “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives,” will take place on Tuesday, July 23, at 10am est. It marks the first time that members of the Senate have officially considered the need for marijuana-related banking reform.

Federal law and regulations currently discourage banks and other financial institutions from working directly with state-licensed cannabis businesses. According to recently published data from the US Treasury Department, fewer than 500 financial institutions nationwide currently provide services to cannabis-specific establishments.

Members of the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Consumer Protections and Financial Institutions previously heard testimony on the issue in February.

Legislation (HR 1595 | S 1200 – The SAFE Banking Act) is pending in both chambers to create new federal protections for financial operators who work with state-compliant marijuana businesses. The House version of the Act, which was passed out of Committee earlier this year on a 45 to 11 vote, has over 200 Congressional co-sponsors while the Senate version has 31 cosponsors.

THE COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS will meet in OPEN SESSION to conduct a hearing entitled, “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives.”  The witnesses on Panel I will be:  The Honorable Cory Gardner, United States Senator, Colorado; and The Honorable Jeff Merkley, United States Senator, Oregon.  The witnesses on Panel II will be:  Ms. Rachel Pross, Chief Risk Officer, Maps Credit Union; Ms. Joanne Sherwood, President and CEO, Citywide Banks; Mr. Garth Van Meter, Vice President of Government Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana; and Mr. John Lord, CEO and Owner, LivWell Enlightened Health.

All hearings are webcast live and will not be available until the hearing starts. Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for webcast hearings, should contact the committee clerk at 202-224-7391 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.

The first panel to address the Committee includes Oregon’s own Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen, Cory Gardner.

  1. The Honorable Cory Gardner
    United States Senator
  2. The Honorable Jeff Merkley
    United States Senator

The second panel to address the Committee includes MAPS Credit Union’s (the leading cannabis friendly bank/credit union in Oregon) Chief Risk Officer.

  1. Ms. Rachel Pross
    Chief Risk Officer
    Maps Credit Union
  2. Ms. Joanne Sherwood
    President and CEO
    Citywide Banks
  3. Mr. Garth Van Meter
    Vice President of Government Affairs
    Smart Approaches to Marijuana
  4. Mr. John Lord
    CEO and Owner
    LivWell Enlightened Health
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