Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lawmakers look to provide safeguards for banks wanting to get involved with the marijuana industry

Delaware Public Media

As Delaware prepares to open its recreational marijuana market, lawmakers take a step to provide a sense of security for local banks interested in playing a role in the market.

State Rep. Ed Osienski’s (D-Newark) legislation would provide legal protections for financial institutions involved in cannabis-related business that are licensed or registered under Delaware law.

The bill clarifies that banks, credit unions, armored car services and accounting services would not be subject to prosecution under state law if they decide to work within the legal cannabis industry.

Osienski explained national banks often do not serve the marijuana industry because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but this bill will provide local banks a better sense of comfort if they choose to do so.

“Local banks and credit unions are better positioned to serve the marijuana industry because they are regulated by state law under which the state’s legal marijuana industry also operates," he said.

Delaware Deputy Treasurer Jordan Seemans said this bill will also reduce the dangers and inconveniences that accompany transporting large amounts of cash, and make tax payments more efficient for marijuana retailers.

Seemans described it as “comfort legislation,” giving those involved with cannabis-related business assurances the state will not prosecute, despite the industry remaining federally illegal.

State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton) expressed strong support for the bill, along with disappointment that the federal government has yet to reclassify marijuana or pass legislation similar to this on a national scale.

“It’s beyond ridiculous to this point that we have to create, essentially a state nullification law, for something the feds should have taken care of a long time ago," Spiegelman said.

The bill cleared the House Economic Development, Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee unanimously among the committee members present and now heads to the House floor for a full vote.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
Related Content