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Bill Protects Insurers Serving Medical Marijuana Vendors

Pennsylvania’s new law prohibits government agencies from banning, discouraging or penalizing financial services firms from providing service to a “legitimate” cannabis-related company or its employees.
  • Timothy Darragh
  • August 2022

 

A Pennsylvania bill protecting financial institutions, including insurance carriers, from legal consequences when they do business with licensed medical marijuana providers has received Gov. Tom Wolf's signature.

Wolf signed H.B. 331, a bill to allow credit unions to hold savings promotional programs, but which also had the medical marijuana language amended onto it.

Related: Best’s Special Report: Cannabis Market Growth Expected but Federal Laws Remain a Roadblock

“But for it to have its intended impact—allowing insurers and financial institutions to provide services to legal cannabis businesses—we need passage of the corresponding federal law.”

Sam Marshall
Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania


The new law prohibits government agencies from banning, discouraging or penalizing financial services firms from providing service to a “legitimate” cannabis-related company or its employees.

It also covers owners, directors, shareholders and employees from being penalized or sanctioned for fines solely because the financial institution provided services to the cannabis-related company.

However, the new law only addresses state-related actions. Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means it is considered to have high potential for abuse and is not approved by the Food & Drug Administration as medication and is therefore illegal.

The Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania said it was pleased the legislation passed and was signed by Wolf.

“But for it to have its intended impact—allowing insurers and financial institutions to provide services to legal cannabis businesses—we need passage of the corresponding federal law,” said Sam Marshall, chief executive officer of the federation.

Related: Kansas Governor Proposes Medicaid Expansion With Medical Marijuana

“Our hope is that the overwhelming bipartisan support shown in states like Pennsylvania will encourage our federal lawmakers to do the same.”

A representative of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition declined to comment.

Before getting to Wolf, the legislation easily passed the Senate and then the House.

Advocates of relaxing laws on medical or personal use of marijuana had their hopes on the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2021, which was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act but is now stalled in Congress.


Timothy Darragh is an associate editor. He can be reached at timothy.darragh@ambest.com.



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