LANSING – Michigan state lawmakers are urging Congress to quickly adopt federal legislation that would protect banks and credit unions from penalties if they accept deposits from cannabis-related businesses.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 is seen as being more necessary as ever now that marijuana is legal for adult use in Michigan and is projected to become a $1 billion industry in Michigan.

“We are the second-largest legal marijuana market in the country, behind only California. Licensed businesses currently employ thousands of people and are expected to grow and hire thousands more,” Robin Schneider, of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, explained May 14.

“Unfortunately, cannabis’ status as a federal Schedule 1 substance means that the majority of financial institutions won’t do business with cannabis companies. Customers pay for their products in cash. Employees are paid in cash. Vendors are paid in cash. And taxes are often paid in cash. Think about that. It’s 2019. We have a $1 billion industry operating primarily in cash. Not only is this inconvenient, it’s illogical and its unsafe.”

She was speaking at a press conference May 14 unveiling a resolution, introduced by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and Rep. Jim Lilly (R-Park Twp.) in the House and Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) in the Senate, urging quick action on H.R. 1595 in Congress. The bill was reported out of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in March.