NJ Banks Score Marijuana Victory As New Bill Opens Door To Do Business With Previously Illegal Companies

Banks that service legal cannabis businesses in New Jersey soon won't need to worry about being sanctioned under state laws. A bill seeking to provide them with protections is advancing through the state legislature, reported Marijuana Moment.

On Monday, the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee approved the bill from Assemblymember Verlina Reynolds-Jackson that would safeguard banks and insurers from being penalized for collaborating with the marijuana business.

Unfortunately, the piece of legislation would not protect banks from being penalized under federal law.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the House sponsor of the cannabis banking measure, said recently that he believes that Congress will pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act with the Senate finally moving during the lame-duck session.

"The optimist says, 'we're gonna get it done.' There are several ways we can do it," said Perlmutter, who noted that the banking reform could be enacted through a larger vehicle like the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or omnibus appropriations legislation or as a standalone.

Until then, bills like Reynolds-Jackson's give people a "false sense of security," the panel's vice chair said at Monday's hearing.

What's In The Bill

Either way, under the measure, a state agency would not be allowed to "prohibit, penalize, or otherwise discourage a financial institution or insurer from providing financial or insurance services to a legitimate cannabis-related business or the business associates of a legitimate cannabis-related business."

They would also be prohibited to "recommend, incentivize, or encourage a financial institution or insurer not to offer financial or insurance services to an account holder, or downgrade or cancel services provided to the account holder, solely because the account holder is a legitimate cannabis-related business or a business associate of a legitimate cannabis-related business."

Lastly, "no financial institution or insurer, or the directors, officers, employees, agents, owners, shareholders, or members of a financial institution or insurer, shall be subject to a criminal prosecution, sanction, or claim for damages or any equitable remedy, solely because the institution or insurer is providing financial or insurance services to or for the benefit of a legitimate cannabis-related business or the business associates of a legitimate cannabis-related business," the text said.

NJ's Rec Market

New Jersey kicked off long-awaited recreational cannabis sales on April 21 of this year.

Since then, the state has hosted events like the 420 Expo, New Jersey's first BYOC (Bring Your Own Cannabis) consumer expo, numerous trade shows, B2B networking events and has opened nearly two dozen cannabis shops.

Moreover, New Jersey consumers are also one step closer to enjoying cannabis consumption in public areas as regulators approved a set of rules on Friday for businesses seeking to operate them.

Photo: Courtesy of JSmed, 7raysmarketing by Pixabay

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralbanking reformEd PerlmuttermarijuanaNew JerseyprotectionsVerlina Reynolds-Jackson
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