A legislative proposal designed to allow financial institutions to provide services to licensed marijuana businesses has been signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
The new law takes effect on June 7th. It provides “immunity from state criminal prosecution to a financial institution providing financial services to licensed marijuana businesses and qualifying patients, health care professionals, and providers under medical marijuana laws.” Financial institutions are defined as “a bank, trust company, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union authorized to do business and accept deposits in Washington under state or federal law.” The measure notes that financial institutions “are generally regulated by the Department of Financial Institutions.”
Senate Bill 5928 was signed by Governor Inslee on March 15th. This was two weeks after it passed the House of Representatives 83 to 15. It passed the Senate, roughly two weeks before that, 38 to 9.
In Washington, the state’s legal marijuana industry has been growing since its inception in 2014. Hundreds of marijuana stores are open throughout the state, supplied by marijuana processors. Most marijuana businesses are cash-only, given it can be hard to find a bank to work with. These is risky for the businesses as having such large amounts of cash make them prone for robbery. Senate Bill 5928 won’t solve this problem entirely, given many banks still won’t service the industry because of federal law. However, it’s a clear step in the right direction and gives bank legal assurances that they, at the very least, won’t be facing state-level persecution if they work with marijuana businesses.
If you would like to read Senate Bill 5928 in its entirety, you can do so by clicking here.