From Michelle Kelley
The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy
On H. 3195, Sponsored by Representative Denise Provost
Providing Banking Regulations for a Secure Industry
Chairwoman Jehlen, Chairman Cusack, and members of the Committee, my name is Michelle Kelley. Thank you for this opportunity to present some remarks about H3195, An Act to Improve Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana, Sponsored by the honorable Representative Denise Provost.
Chapter 334, also known as Q4, allows for the legal possession and use of Marijuana by people over the age of 21, and establishes a regulatory structure to oversee the new industry. It does not however, address the problem found in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, and experienced by our own Medical Dispensaries, of the lack of banking facilities available for the industry. H3195, however does address this crucial point.
H3195 specifically directs “the Commissioner of Banks to promulgate rules and regulations to establish standards relative to the provision of banking services by banks or credit unions under his supervision” to entities authorized to engage in marijuana commerce. In other words, the Commissioner of Banks will set rules for Massachusetts state banks and credit unions to provide services to businesses licensed to engage in commerce in the cannabis industry in the State of Massachusetts.
This is a serious issue in states that have already begun retail sales, and is also an issue with the businesses operating in the MMJ industry in Massachusetts today. Federal banks are forbidden from opening accounts for such businesses, requiring all business be done on a cash basis and requiring additional security measures that would otherwise not be needed.
As the new industry begins retail sales, this leaves the potential for very large sums of cash to be collected, moved, stored and guarded.
By directing the Commissioner to establish rules for the state controlled banks and credit unions to allow bank services to be provided to the industry, large amounts of cash will be safely deposited in institutions designed to handle them, and the security and accounting issues associated with an all-cash business will be avoided.
This appears to be a serious issue not addressed by Chapter 334, that needs to be addressed by this Committee and is handled properly by the language in H3195.
Thank for allowing me to speak. I urge you to take a serious look at H3195. It is a bill that would greatly improve the regulation of the new Cannabis industry.