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Still Stuck: Disconnect between State, Federal Laws Leaves Cannabis Industry in Banking Limbo Even as N.J. Market Draws Near


June 18, 2021

Robert Schiappacasse, Co-Chair of the Sills Cummis Cannabis Industry Practice, spoke with ROI-NJ about cannabis businesses not being able to access banking services.

"Robert Schiappacasse, co-chair of the cannabis industry practice group at Sills Cummis & Gross P.C., said businesses in other industries take for granted that they’re able to work with any bank they choose. Not so for this industry.

"'And the inability to access conventional sources of financing through federally-chartered lenders has clearly been a significant issue for the industry,' he said. 'So, these businesses have only been able to use a credit union, and only if they’re lucky to be operating in a state that has a chartered credit union for cash deposits for their business.'

"Schiappacasse said it’s important to keep in mind that banks are lobbying (with a well-established and very powerful lobbying apparatus) for this to change just as much as the cannabis industry itself. They want these new clients.

"It’s partly for that reason he’s optimistic banks will be able to participate in this industry eventually … even if passage of the current SAFE Banking Act isn’t the safest bet.

"'Personally I think, as with any legislation these days, its success really depends on what conditions the Senate will put on the bill and whether that’s acceptable when it goes back to the House,' he said. 'Still, it seems that progress is being made and something will be done to allow the industry to bank. Whether it looks exactly the way it did as it came out of the House recently is another question.'"