Cannabis Banking – Are You Ready?

By: Sharon J. Lorman
Jeffrey P. Marsico
Matthew P. Prosseda

Guest: Jon K. Skarin, EVP of Legislative & Regulatory Policy, Massachusetts Bankers Association

Podcast Show Notes:

Our This Month In Banking (TMIB) podcast features discussion with colleagues and other industry thought leaders on interesting banking news that happened this month. TMIB will be available on the last Wednesday of every month here, and on Apple and Droid podcast apps for your listening enjoyment. Join us on your commute, at your desk or at home.

Topic: Cannabis Banking – Are You Ready?
Insights from Jon K. Skarin, EVP of Legislative & Regulatory Policy, Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA)

Start time: 1:17

The US marijuana industry is worth billions of dollars. Ten U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use, and 33 states and the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have legalized medicinal use. However, the possession, distribution or sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which means any contact with money that can be traced back to state marijuana operations could be considered money laundering and expose a bank to significant legal, operational and regulatory risk. As of May 2019, 51 state bankers’ associations urged the Senate Banking Committee to conduct hearings on the merits of providing cannabis-related businesses access to banking services. In addition, legislation backed by the American Bankers Association, the SAFE Banking Act, cleared the House Financial Services Committee (“Committee”) in March and the Committee issued its report on June 5, 2019. If the SAFE Banking Act moves forward, the next step would be a vote by the House of Representatives.
At some point in the not-too-distant future, legislation may be passed which enables cannabis-related businesses much needed access to financial services and the payments system. When that happens, will your bank be ready to capitalize on this opportunity? Join our discussion with Jon Skarin, Executive Vice President of Legislative & Regulatory Policy for the Massachusetts Bankers Association, to learn about the regulations proposed in the Senate and the House governing cannabis banking and what your bank can do to prepare.

Jon K. Skarin
Mr. Skarin is Executive Vice President of Legislative & Regulatory Policy for the Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA), which represents 140 commercial, savings and co-operative banks and savings and loan associations with more than 72,000 employees located throughout Massachusetts and New England. He is responsible for federal and state legislative and regulatory issues and serves as assistant treasurer of the Association’s political action committee.
Since joining MBA in 2005, Mr. Skarin has worked on a number of key banking issues in Washington, DC and on Beacon Hill. These include state and federal foreclosure prevention initiatives, data security standards and regulatory relief initiatives. Mr. Skarin is also a frequent speaker on legislative and regulatory matters related to banking and financial services.
Prior to joining the Association, Mr. Skarin served as Legislative Director for Congressman Michael E. Capuano from 1999-2005. He also served on the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy from 1994-1998 working on economic and technology issues as well as economic development projects throughout the Commonwealth.

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Watch for episode 45 of This Month in Banking to be released on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 and a new episode on the last Wednesday of every month.

Thank you for listening!

Relevant Link:
American Bankers Association, Issues and Advocacy, Policy Issues: Marijuana and Banking

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