(Image via Pittsburgh City Paper)
By Jamie Wiggan
State legislation recognizing the rights of Pennsylvanian cannabis companies to secure financial services from banks and lenders has been signed into law, picking up strong bi-partisan support amid a largely chaotic legislative session.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill, sponsored by Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe, into law on Monday. It adds a section “legitimate cannabis-related business” to the state’s commerce and trade statutes, giving them broad protections to financial services: “A financial institution authorized to engage in business in this commonwealth may provide financial services to or for the benefit of a legitimate cannabis-related business and the business associates of a legitimate cannabis-related business subject to.”
Brown’s legislation defines legitimate cannabis businesses broadly to include growers, manufacturers, suppliers, transporters, and dispensers, and covers companies that conduct business in other states as long as they comply with Pennsylvania law.
Marijuana advocates lauded the new law as a win for the industry.
“All businesses that provide jobs and grow the state’s tax base require investment and protection as a basic necessity,” Meredith Buettner, executive director at Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, wrote in a statement. “But for years, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana operators have been denied these basic rights. [Brown’s proposal] House Bill 331 ensures equity for legitimate cannabis businesses, but most importantly, it sends a signal to the federal government to pass a national ‘safe banking act’ that protects an industry that helps millions of patients and generates billions in tax dollars.”
Jamie Wiggan is news editor at Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared.
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