Jurisdiction: California

California Passes SB 51 to Create a Non-Federal Banking Alternative for the Cannabis Industry

On May 23, 2019, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 51 (“SB 51”) on a 35-1 vote to establish limited state-chartered banks and credit unions to serve the cannabis industry. The bill, which was introduced by state Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), along with eight other bipartisan cosponsors, allows cannabis businesses to create accounts with certain chartered banks and credit unions for specific cannabis business-related purposes. For instance, cannabis businesses will now be able to deposit funds into these accounts and write “special purpose checks.”

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California Bill Aims to Increase the Number of Cannabis Dispensaries

Earlier this year, California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 1356 (“AB 1356”) in an effort to increase the number of cannabis dispensaries across California. The bill requires any city or county that voted 50% or more in favor of Proposition 64 (the California voter initiative that legalized adult-use cannabis) to issue one cannabis retail license for every six onsite liquor consumption licenses or for every 15,000 residents, whichever is less.

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California Insurance Commissioner Approves First Cannabis Business Owners Policy

On June 4, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that he approved the first Cannabis Business Owners Policy (“CannaBOP”) in California. In announcing the approval, Commissioner Jones stated, “This first-of-its-kind Cannabis Business Owners Policy or CannaBOP program will make it easier for more insurers to enter the market and fill coverage gaps for cannabis businesses.

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