State Treasurer Duane Davidson Resolves to Protect Public Safety with Cannabis Banking Reform

cannabis dollars

OLYMPIA, WA – State Treasurer Duane Davidson traveled to Washington D.C. to push for cannabis banking reform by submitting a resolution that was eventually approved by the Banking and Cash Management Committee of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). This is the first hurdle for the resolution as it now has to go to the NAST Legislative Committee and then to the Executive Committee before it is adopted.

“This is about creating a safer cannabis industry”

Davidson, Chair of the Banking and Cash Management Committee, and several other state treasurers support federal legislation that allows financial institutions to provide legal cannabis banking with financial services.

“This is not about legalizing cannabis nationwide — it’s already legal in Washington — this is about creating a safer cannabis industry by allowing these mostly cash-based businesses to bank with their local financial institutions,” Treasurer Davidson said.

The resolution aims to advance legislation allowing States with legalized cannabis the ability to bring these activities into the safety and scrutiny of the national banking system.

“There is growing bipartisan support for a needed change”

Many financial institutions in Washington will not take cannabis dollars because cannabis is a classified as a Schedule 1 substance on the national level. This then leads to transactions being handled in cash, increasing the potential for crime and blocking the opportunity to participate in the national banking system.

Treasurer Davidson hopes to change that.

“The only way that we’re ever going to get this resolved is if there’s a change at the federal level,” said Davidson in an appearance on TVW’s Inside Olympia back in September. “There is growing bipartisan support for a needed change.”

The resolution points to increasing support for federal legislative changes, including legislation from U.S. Representative Denny Heck, a Washington Democrat who recently wrote; “It’s now up to Congress to address this banking crisis and align federal and state laws.”

Beginning with this resolution, Treasurer Davidson ultimately wants to see federal changes that give unbanked cannabis businesses the ability to write checks, make and receive electronic payments, utilize payroll providers, accept debit or credit cards, and pay taxes through financial institutions.

In Washington, cannabis taxes and license fees totaled $367.4 million in Fiscal Year 2018, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

The resolution will next move to the Legislative Committee where the Chair is Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read.