The Maine Credit Union League and the Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA) sent a joint letter earlier this week to Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) supporting their bill, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018. This legislation provides important states’ rights and public safety protections for our credit unions and their members.
Todd Mason, President/CEO of the Maine Credit Union League, co-authored the letter with MWCUA President and CEO Scott Earl. Both states have legalized recreational marijuana industries. Colorado has faced numerous challenges providing financial services to these businesses and Maine is just beginning to navigate the process of implementing businesses.
“As financial services providers serving over 4 million members in the states we represent, credit unions play a central role in our communities by fulfilling banking needs that may not be otherwise available,” said Earl. Mason added, “Currently, we cannot serve an industry that generates several billion dollars in sales and tax revenues-the recreational cannabis industry- without substantial risk due to ongoing uncertainty over federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. This has become not only a states’ rights issue, but an important public safety issue.”
Without access to standard banking services, some of these companies have had to come up with alternative solutions and many are unable to undertake the most basic functions of successful businesses, such as paying vendors, employees and taxes, but instead have large amounts of money unsecured, unaccountable and at risk for abuse.
“The STATES Act would provide the certainty we need as financial services providers to service this growing industry and protect our members and the taxpayers of our states. This is a matter independent of the question of legalization of cannabis and is about ensuring the rights of states to fully implement the will of their voters,” noted Earl.
Both states thanked the Senators for their leadership in drafting the legislation and urged Congress to take swift action to address this matter and pass the STATES Act without delay.