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Financing California’s Cannabis Businesses: Public Banking Model as a State-Level Solution

The California Cannabis Banking Working Group (CBWG) is meeting this week to discuss the prospect of implementing a public banking model in California to facilitate access to financial services for marijuana-related businesses operating in compliance with state law. Following the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) in November 2016, California State Treasurer John Chiang created the working group to help cannabis businesses obtain open access to banks.

A public bank is a financial institution owned by a state or other public actor that may assume the role of a central bank or a commercial bank. Currently there are only three such government-owned institutions in the United States, including the Bank of North Dakota, the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

We are losely monitoring the evolving landscape of banking solutions in the cannabis industry and we will be attending this week’s hearing coordinated by the CBWG and the California State Treasurer’s office.

© 2020 Wilson ElserNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 222


About this Author

Matt S. Kiel, Insurance Litigator, Commercial Litigation Attorney, Wilson Elser Law Firm

Matt Kiel has managed litigation for various Southern California municipalities, national insurance providers and mid-sized businesses. He has represented individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies in a variety of matters, from labor and employment to complex commercial disputes and general liability. Matt’s experience extends to drafting commercial agreements, including non-compete and confidentiality agreements, and resolving intellectual property disputes.

While in Oregon, Matt was certified by the Oregon Supreme Court to make appearances...