We wrote last month about the Illinois Senate cannabis banking bill (SB 2023) making its way through the State Senate. The bill seeks to remove restrictions making it illegal for banks to transact with marijuana businesses in Illinois. Illinois’s marijuana industry will benefit from removal of these restrictions and pressing forward with a change in Illinois cannabis banking practices will pave the way for the impending legalization for recreational use in Illinois.
An identical bill has been working its way through the State House. HB 2980 will have a judiciary criminal committee hearing today and as reported by Illinois Public Media, has a positive prospect for advancing (“Illinois Moves to Bank the Unbanked Marijuana Companies”).
The changes the bills propose would prohibit the Illinois Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation from:
- Issuing an order against a financial institution for unsafe or unsound banking practices solely because the entity provides financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business;
- prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a financial institution from providing financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business solely because the entity provides financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business;
- recommending, incentivizing, or encouraging a financial institution not to offer financial services to an account holder or to downgrade or cancel the financial services offered to an account holder solely because the account holder is a manufacturer or producer or is the owner, operator, or employee of a cannabis-related legitimate business, the account holder later becomes an owner or operator of a cannabis-related legitimate business, or the financial institution was not aware that the account holder is the owner or operator of a cannabis-related legitimate business; and
- taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to an owner or operator of a cannabis-related legitimate business solely because the owner or operator owns or operates a cannabis-related legitimate business or an owner or operator of real estate or equipment that is leased to a cannabis-related legitimate business solely because the owner or operator of the real estate or equipment leased the equipment or real estate to a cannabis-related legitimate business.
The bills also authorize the Secretary to furnish confidential supervisory information relating to a financial institution providing financial services to cannabis-related businesses, limited to the name, contact information, and such other information as the Secretary determines is prudent, to the Illinois State Treasurer.
As we reported before, these regulatory changes to marijuana banking laws in Illinois will pave the way for a safer environment – even Illinois State’s Attorneys Association officials have chimed in with the now commonplace public policy statement that having active banking for cannabis businesses is a public safety issue as not allowing these changes would keep Illinois marijuana businesses reliant on cash transactions and dealing with that much cash would likely increase the opportunity for criminal activity.
Unless something goes drastically awry, Illinois should have some form of recreational program proposed in the legislature in the next several months.