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New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Banking Protections Bill As Congress Prepares To Act

A New Jersey Assembly committee has approved a bill to provide state-level protections for banks and insurers that work with licensed marijuana businesses.

The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee passed the bill from Assemblymember Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D) with nearly unanimous support on Monday.

The bill would not immunize banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from being penalized under federal law, but the committee action comes as congressional leaders are planning to file legislation that’s expected to contain those broader safeguards.

While the reform enjoyed strong support at Monday’s hearing, a couple members raised concerns about enacting something that might give people a “false sense of security” in light of ongoing federal prohibition, as the panel’s vice chair said.

Under the measure, it would be unlawful for a state agency to “prohibit, penalize, or otherwise discourage a financial institution or insurer from providing financial or insurance services to a legitimate cannabis-related business or the business associates of a legitimate cannabis-related business,” the text says.

Agencies also could not “recommend, incentivize, or encourage a financial institution or insurer not to offer financial or insurance services to an account holder, or downgrade or cancel services provided to the account holder, solely because

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