Press Release

Hertzberg Introduces Legislation to Establish Framework for Cannabis Banking

SB 930 would help financial institutions safely conduct transactions with cannabis businesses

January 25, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, introduced legislation today to help financial institutions safely conduct transactions with cannabis businesses. SB 930 would allow financial institutions to work with licensed cannabis businesses to:

  • Issue certified checks and conduct payroll for certified California employees;
  • Pay their state and local taxes and fees while lessening the burden on local government to collect and manage large sums of cash;
  • Pay their rent; and
  • Invest in California’s economy.

Despite the legalization of adult-use cannabis in California, eight other states, and the District of Columbia, the US Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Because of this, legally licensed cannabis businesses are not able to deposit their business income with federally-insured financial institutions, and are therefore forced to operate as cash-only businesses. This poses safety risks to those legitimate businesses and creates challenges when they need to make business or payroll transactions, or pay taxes and fees.

“Proposition 64 allowed legalized recreational marijuana in the state, but did nothing to address the lack of financial services available to this industry,” Sen. Hertzberg said. “These businesses handle significant economic activity, yet they are forced to operate under the table and with little government oversight, as if they’re a black-market operation. This solution is how we will integrate these businesses into the fabric of the California economy.”

SB 930 was devised in collaboration with Fiona Ma, Chairwoman Emeritus of the State Board of Equalization.

“Now is the time for California to take action since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has thrown down the gauntlet,” said Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA. “With Prop 64 now fully in effect, the cannabis industry is poised to become one of the largest cash-based industries in California projected to generate $8-20 billion dollars a year. Paying your taxes with duffel bags full of cash isn’t safe or efficient for anyone involved, but this is the reality for those legally working in the cannabis industry. There has to be a better way and I’m proud to partner with Senator Hertzberg to create a safe payment processing system for this industry.”

Once California implements a system in which these entities can continue to legally do business, the danger associated with cash-only transactions will diminish, and cannabis businesses will be able to come out of the shadows and become an integral part of California’s economy.

Media Contact: Katie Hanzlik
Press Secretary
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
(916) 651-4018

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