Post date: 9/23/2019

Legislation that would establish as state-regulated banking system for cannabis businesses in California has been tabled. But the lead sponsor of the bill said he plans to move it forward next year

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg announced on September 9 that SB 51 has been tabled for now, but committed to work with other bill sponsors and the governor’s office to add needed clarification and implementation details. “If we are going to do this we have to do it right,” said Hertzberg. “We owe it to the dozens of cities, counties and cannabis industry officials who have been supporting this effort to see it through.”

The Majority Leader said he intends to move the bill when the legislature reconvenes in January for the second half of the 2019-2020 session. Because the bill contains an urgency clause and has already cleared a majority of legislative hurdles, there remains a path for it to go into effect in early 2020, according to a statement issued by his office.

SB 51 would create limited-purpose charters for banks and credit unions that don’t interact with the federal banking system, for purposes of accepting deposits and providing other financial services to cannabis businesses in the state. The bill largely reflects a key recommendation contained in a report issued last year by a state commission on cannabis banking.

“I will continue to champion this issue on behalf of business investors as well as constituents that voted for a healthy, legal cannabis industry in California,” said State Treasurer Fiona Ma, who led the state commission. “I remain committed and am looking forward to working with Governor [Gavin] Newsom and Senator Hertzberg on SB 51 as a top priority for January when the Legislature reconvenes.”

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