California canna-businesses may be finally be getting a chance to open bank accounts in the near future, thanks to a new bill that just cleared the state Senate. This week, state senators voted to approve SB 930, a bill that would establish limited state charter banks and credit unions specifically for the use of licensed cannabis companies. The bill passed the state Senate with a bipartisan 29-6 vote, and will move from there to the state Assembly, where it awaits assignment to a committee.
Like in every other U.S. state with legal weed, California marijuana firms are forced to pay taxes, employees, and bills in cash due to federal laws that prohibit banks from servicing any business involved with an illegal substance. Businesses ranging from state-legal cannabis testing labs to cannabis advocacy groups have had their bank accounts shut down due to these regulations, and even individual employees of cannabis firms have been denied loans due to their association with the industry.
The California Department of Finance expects to collect $600 million in cannabis tax revenue this year, and if the industry's banking problems are not resolved, they must collect this full amount in cash. Foreseeing the problem, state Treasurer John Chiang convened a working group to discuss how the state could possibly resolve the problem. Earlier this year, Chiang told MERRY JANE that “the public bank is one of the pathways that we want to further explore, to see what can be offered to address the holes that need to be filled in regard to making sure that cannabis businesses get to operate above board and out of the shadows.”
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