New York Credit Union Association President/CEO William J. Mellin wrote to four federal lawmakers commending them for their sponsorship of legislation that would allow credit unions to provide financial services to members engaged in marijuana-related businesses in states where marijuana has been legalized as a matter of state law.
Mellin’s letters were addressed to Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.), and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo). The four lawmakers are the sponsors of H.R.2215 and S.1152, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2017.
In his letters, Mellin explained that New York, like a majority of the states, legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. He highlighted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and as a result, New York’s credit unions have been unable to serve the needs of their members and prospective members who are in some way engaged in marijuana-related businesses.
The legislation “presents a common sense, targeted approach to this problem,” wrote Mellin. “It would allow credit unions to accept deposits, extend credit, and provide payment services to individuals or businesses engaged in marijuana-related commerce in states, like New York, where such activity is legal, provided that the credit unions comply with all other applicable laws. It would also provide a safe harbor for credit unions and their employees in situations where they are not aware that a member is involved in a marijuana-related business. We feel that this is the right approach and look forward to working with you to advance this legislation.”
Mellin thanked the four lawmakers for their sponsorship and support on the legislation, and urged them to continue pushing for its passage.