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Delaware Lawmakers Send Marijuana Banking Bill To Governor’s Desk



The Delaware Senate has approved a House-passed bill that would enact state-level protections for banks that provide services to licensed marijuana businesses—sending it to the governor’s desk.

The legislation, filed by Rep. Ed Osienski (D) and Sen. Trey Paradee (D), cleared the House in March and then moved through the Senate Health & Social Services Committee before being approved on the floor in a 16-5 vote on Tuesday.

The measure is designed to clarify that banks, credit unions, armored car services and accounting services providers are not subject to state-level prosecution simply for working with cannabis businesses.

State Treasurer Colleen Davis (D), who previously endorsed the marijuana banking proposal, said in a press release on Wednesday that the legislation represents “a critical step forward for Delaware’s cannabis industry.”

“By ensuring safe access to banking services, we are empowering legitimate businesses to operate transparently and securely,” she said.

Osienski, the sponsor, said lawmakers “want Delaware’s safe and regulated industry to out-compete the illegal market.”

“By providing dispensaries with a secure avenue to banking and compliance services, we empower them to contribute positively to our economy, keep costs down for the industry and customers, employ local talent, and fulfill their tax obligations,” he said.

Paradee, for his part, said that “at the end of the day, cannabis retailers in Delaware are small businesses. They will be in our communities. They will hire Delawareans. They will pay their taxes. They will contribute to the economic development of this State.”

“But with an over-reliance on cash-transactions, retailers are at a disadvantage in terms of their banking, compliance, and safety needs,” he said. “With the passage of this legislation, the State can ensure that these types of businesses have a clear path towards access to those critical services.”

According to the bill’s synopsis, it “aims to facilitate the operation of cannabis-related businesses by helping to ensure that such businesses have access to necessary financial and accounting services.”

This represents the latest example of a state proactively seeking to provide marijuana banking protections as federal reform continues to stall. However, congressional leaders have often signaled that they intend to advance the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act this year.

Meanwhile, the Delaware House approved a bill last week to launch recreational cannabis sales early through existing medical marijuana dispensaries, while adopting amendments that appear partially responsive to equity-related concerns from advocates.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Last month, Delaware’s governor signed into law separate legislation to significantly expand the state’s medical cannabis program as regulators take steps to launch the recreational marijuana market.

The new law approved by Gov. John Carney (D) removes limitations for patient eligibility based on a specific set of qualifying health conditions. Instead, doctors will be able to issue marijuana recommendations for any condition they see fit.

The measure will also allow patients over the age of 65 to self-certify for medical cannabis access without the need for a doctor’s recommendation.

All of this comes as regulators are rolling out a series of proposed regulations to stand up the forthcoming adult-use cannabis market. The current timeline puts the launch of the market at March 2025, according to Delaware Marijuana Commissioner Robert Coupe.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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