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Delaware Senators Approve House-Passed Marijuana Banking Bill To Provide State-Level Protections



A Delaware Senate committee has passed a House-approved bill that would enact state-level protections for banks that provide services to licensed marijuana businesses.

The bill, filed by Rep. Ed Osienski (D) and Sen. Trey Paradee (D), has the endorsement of state Treasurer Colleen Davis (D). It cleared the House of Representatives last month and advanced through the Senate Health & Social Services Committee on Wednesday.

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.

Pardee said during Wednesday’s hearing that the lack of access to financial services for cannabis businesses has been a “problem that has plagued the cannabis industry since California became the first state to have medical marijuana in 1996.”

“This is really a public safety issue,” he said. “We do not want any of the the current medical cannabis providers or the coming recreational cannabis providers to struggle with that issue.”

The bill synopsis says that 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.”

Meanwhile, separate legislation to significantly expand Delaware’s medical marijuana program was sent to the governor’s desk last month. Like the banking measure, that bill was also sponsored by Osienski, who championed that marijuana legalization legislation that was enacted into law last year.

The medical cannabis expansion measure would remove limitations for patient eligibility based on a specific set of qualifying health conditions. Instead, doctors could issue marijuana recommendations for any condition they see fit. The bill would also allow patients over the age of 65 to self-certify for medical marijuana access without the need for a doctor’s recommendation.

These developments come as regulators are rolling out a series of draft regulations to stand up the adult-use cannabis market. The current timeline puts the launch of the market at March 2025, according to Delaware Marijuana Commissioner Robert Coupe.

The Office of the Marijuana Commissioner (OMC) published its latest proposed regulations earlier this month, with new sections related to issues such as cannabis testing, sampling, disposal, variances and fee schedules.

For its initial batch of rules in February, the office provided a basic framework for various cannabis business license types and requirements for the application process. That was followed with regulations on tracking, transportation, health standards, packaging and advertising.

Following an informal public comment period that closed last month, regulators are now aiming to have a formal comment window open once all rules are finalized between May 1-31.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 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.

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The financial services legislation that cleared committee on Wednesday, meanwhile, is the latest example of a state proactively seeking to provide marijuana banking protections as federal reform continues to stall. However, congressional leaders have signaled that they intend to prioritize the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act this year.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently reiterated his intent to pass legislation to “safeguard cannabis banking” as part of a “busy agenda” that he hopes to achieve in the “weeks and months ahead,” though he again stressed the need for bipartisan cooperation.

He also recently asked people to show their support for the SAFER Banking Act by signing a petition as he steps up his push for the legislation. A poll released last month by the American Bankers Association (ABA) shows that roughly three out of five Americans support allowing marijuana industry access to the banking system.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said that that “if Republicans want to keep the House,” they should pass the marijuana banking bill, arguing that “there are votes” to approve it.

Schumer told Marijuana Moment last month that the bill remains a “very high priority” for the Senate, and members are having “very productive” bicameral talks to reach a final agreement.

Senators Will ‘Do Our Best’ To Pass Marijuana Banking Bill ‘In A Bipartisan Way,’ Schumer Says

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