New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez (D) has introduced legislation to ensure cannabis businesses can access property, casualty, and title insurance. The Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana (CLAIM) Act, has bipartisan support in the Senate including Democrat Jeff Merkley (OR) and Republicans Rand Paul (KY) and Kevin Cramer (ND) as co-sponsors.
The bill would perform a similar function for the insurance industry as it relates to the cannabis industry as the SAFE Banking Act would for financial institutions – giving the sector explicit approval to serve cannabusinesses.
“In short, the sky is not falling in Colorado.”
That is how Republican Sen. Cory Gardner summed up his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday morning, where he was advocating legislative action to give legal marijuana businesses access to banks and protection for banks from being viewed as money launderers under federal law for handling their money.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.
This week, a Senate committee voted to kill a federal budget amendment that would have protected banks willing to serve the cannabis industry from federal interference. Under current law, any bank that handles funds related to an illegal drug can face money laundering charges, a situation which forces the cannabis industry to operate on a cash-only basis. Pro-cannabis legislators have floated a number of bills and measures to address the issue, but so far without success.