Colorado Gov. Jared Polis unveiled the “Roadmap to Cannabis Banking and Financial Services” plan aimed at makes banking services more accessible for marijuana businesses in the face of a federal ban on marijuana.
Polis pointed out that the lack of access to banks was inhibiting the growth of marijuana businesses. He also pointed out that thieves were frequently targeting marijuana businesses as they were holding large amounts of cash due to non-cooperation from banks.
Department of Regulatory Agencies Executive Director Patty Salazar said the absence of federal approval was preventing banks from approaching cannabis businesses and the plan was seeking to encourage them to approach cannabis banking with a more open mind.
Polis said that his plan consisted of seven core areas, which included creating a robust regulatory framework, resolving issues that prevented banks from offering services to the cannabis industry and providing incentives for financial institutions entering the cannabis market.
A document released along with the plan outlined the roadmap for achieving the goals set in the plan in a time-bound manner. All the goals are tracked through an online tool, which shows the progress made in achieving a particular goal.
For example, one of the goals is to increase the number of banks providing services to the cannabis industry by 20% by June 30. Another goal is to guide banks in opening their doors to the cannabis industry. To achieve this goal, officials from the state’s Banking and Financial Services divisions have held a dozen meetings with officials from other states on issues that are likely to crop up in opening up banks to the cannabis industry. The lessons from these meetings will be shared with financial institutions seeking to enter the cannabis market.
Yet another goal is for the state Attorney general to issue guidelines under the Money Transmission Act and the Trust Companies Act for both consumers and marijuana businesses.
Just last week, Polis had announced a plan for using carbon released during the brewing process for growing marijuana.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter was also present at the launch of the plan, whose Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act seeks to shield banks that provide services to cannabis businesses, from federal laws. The Bill was passed by a bipartisan vote in the House and is now with the Senate Banking Committee.