The amount of liability in the marijuana industry is staggering. Possibly the greatest financial risk of owning a cannabis dispensary, or any business that handles the marijuana plant on a regular basis, is that most cannabis based companies are left with no choice but to work on a cash-only basis leaving them vulnerable to robbery. The House Financial Services subcommittee met recently to discuss the challenges banks are facing by working with cannabis companies and potential solutions. The meeting included discussing the newly introduced SAFE Banking Act of 2019, also known as the Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019.
While some robberies at cannabis companies involve violence, including one incident in Colorado that left a security guard dead, the greatest threat of robbery may be internal from trusted employees. The temptation when cash money is laying around is often too much to overcome. Dispensary insurance is of the utmost importance with the current banking challenges that cannabis companies must contend with. Cannabis insurance specialists are difficult to come by since most insurance companies steer clear of any business that is associated with a Schedule I controlled substances.
While the House of Representatives may vote on and pass the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 during the current legislative session, the bill will face a much greater challenge passing in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not support the legalization of marijuana, or anything that furthers marijuana reform, even though he does support the legalization of hemp. Regardless of what happens, S2S Insurance Specialists are here for any cannabis company’s insurance needs as we have attained a clear understanding of the financial risks associated with the cannabis space.
“The conditions are as good as they’ve ever been for legislation to proceed,” said Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer for the Credit Union National Association, a trade group that lobbies for credit unions. “75% may be a little high, but [the odds] are better than they were in the last Congress.”
“This hearing is part of an effort to try to generate some momentum in the House of Representatives,” Donovan said. Prospects for cannabis-banking legislation “might be easier to see once we get past the shutdown threat and get into more of a normal legislative environment,” he added.
“The safety of thousands of employees, business owners, security personnel, police officers and community members is in your hands,” Neill Franklin, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership’s executive director, told the subcommittee on consumer protection and financial institutions. LEAP is a nonprofit known for opposing the “war on drugs.”
The ranking member of the House Financial Services subcommittee, Missouri Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, argued against the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 and his thoughts were echoed by the chairman of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Jonathan Talcott.
“You really need to address the Controlled Substances Act and its prohibition on marijuana … before any of the proposed changes and safe harbors would be effective,” Talcott said in his testimony. Luetkemeyer made a similar point, saying lawmakers were “dealing with an illegal industry at the federal level” and “putting the cart before the horse” by focusing on the industry’s banking needs.
Until marijuana is rescheduled on the Controlled Substance Act, or completely descheduled, cannabis companies must make sure that their financial risks are covered and marijuana insurance policies are the smartest alternative. We offer CBD product liability insurance, cannabis crop insurance, D&O insurance and cannabis dispensary insurance. Contact Eric Rahn or David Rahn, your cannabis insurance specialists.