Mellin discusses cannabis banking in Daily Gazette

Mellin250.jpgNew York Credit Union Association President/CEO William J. Mellin was featured in a column on cannabis banking published last week in the Schenectady Daily Gazette. In the column, which highlighted the challenges financial institutions face when it comes to serving the legal cannabis industry, Mellin called on lawmakers to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act.

The column explored the state-level marijuana-banking guidance issued last year by the Department of Financial Services. As previously reported, the Association played a key role in the issuance of the DFS guidance, which encourages state-chartered financial institutions to establish banking relationships with properly run marijuana businesses.

However, despite the guidance and assurance from state regulators that they will not take action against institutions that maintain proper relationships with legally run marijuana businesses, the drug still remains illegal and in the most tightly regulated classification under federal law.

In the Gazette column, Mellin indicated some credit unions were interested in serving the cannabis sector. “But for many, there is far too much legal ambiguity,” Mellin told the publication.

He highlighted the importance of the SAFE Banking Act, which the House Financial Services Committee passed in March. The legislation currently has 206 cosponsors in the House, 15 of whom are from New York, including Reps.:

  • Gregory Meeks, D-5;
  • Grace Meng, D-6;
  • Nydia Velazquez, D-7;
  • Hakeem Jeffries, D-8;
  • Yvette Clarke, D- 9;
  • Jerrold Nadler, D-10;
  • Carolyn Maloney, D-12;
  • Adriano Espaillat, D-13;
  • Sean Patrick Maloney, D-18;
  • Antonio Delgado, D-19;
  • Paul Tonko, D-20;
  • Anthony Brindisi, D-22;
  • Joseph Morelle, D-25;
  • Brian Higgins, D-26; and
  • Chris Collins, R-27.

Ensuring credit unions can access and serve the legal cannabis industry remains among the Association’s top federal legislative priorities.

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