Bi-Partisan House Resolution Sponsored by House Minority Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), State Rep. Jim Lilly (R-Park Township), State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), and Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-23)
LANSING, Mich., May 14, 2019 - The Michigan Bankers Association (MBA) hosted a cannabis banking press conference with House Minority Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), State Rep. Jim Lilly (R-Park Township), State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) and Robin Schneider, Executive Director, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association calling on Congress to prevent federal regulators from penalizing financial institutions that handle marijuana-related transactions that are legal under state law. The legislators are introducing resolutions in both the House and Senate urging Congress to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595). The bill provides a safe harbor for financial institutions who choose to bank cannabis.
“While our association and our industry has never taken a position on the legalization of cannabis, banks have been asked by the public and by policy makers alike to provide depository services to state legal, licensed entities,” stated T. Rann Paynter, President & CEO, Michigan Bankers Association. “We appreciate the Bi-partisan House Resolution sponsored by Representative Rabhi and co-sponsored by Rep. Lilly and Rep. Gay-Dagnogo that will be introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives later today. We are also grateful for Senator Hertel who could not join us today but will be introducing a companion resolution in the Senate this week.”
“The people of Michigan overwhelmingly voted to legalize medical marijuana and adult use of marijuana,” Rep. Rabhi said. “But it’s hard to maintain a safe, well-regulated, and taxed marijuana industry when they are forced to run a cash-only business. It’s in the public’s best interest to let them use financial institutions like everyone else.”
“By forcing entrepreneurs in this space to operate on an all-cash basis, we are unnecessarily creating public safety hazards,” Rep. Lilly said. “Our current system simply isn’t working. Regardless of your views on marijuana, there are no good arguments for encouraging the industry’s financial operations to exist in the shadows.”
“Public safety should be our number one priority as legislation has been passed to allow for medical and recreational marijuana usage in the State of Michigan. We need to remove the federal restrictions so these businesses can operate safely in our communities,” Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Minority Vice Chair of the House Financial Services Committee said. “Unfortunately, the mandatory reliance on cash has made our neighborhoods targets for robberies. The sooner we fix this broken policy, the better.”
“It doesn’t make sense to treat legal, regulated businesses like illicit drug dealers,” Sen. Hertel said. “These folks are trying to run a business and pay their taxes, but federal banking regulations are getting in the way. For the sake of public safety and accountability, Congress needs to give legal marijuana businesses access to the banking system.”
“Michigan Cannabis businesses operate in a legal, highly-regulated industry. They deserve to have access to the same banking opportunities as any other business in the state,” said Robin Schneider, Executive Director, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. “We have 33 states with medical marijuana and 10 states plus D.C. that allow full adult-use legalization. It’s time for Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act.”
About the Michigan Bankers Association
The Michigan Bankers Association (MBA), the voice of the banking industry since 1887, consists of Michigan financial institutions with more than 2,800 branches located throughout the state. The MBA promotes strong communities and economic activity in Michigan by advancing a positive business environment. MBA assists banks by offering products and services to reduce expenses and increase profitability through the strength of the association.
For more information, visit www.mibankers.com