Senator Sharif Street

Harrisburg, PA − March 31, 2022 − Yesterday the Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously passed SB1167, our bipartisan cannabis banking bill. We moved forward with an important step in dismantling another cornerstone of cannabis prohibition by laying the groundwork for cannabis patients to utilize insurance to get their medicine. For too long low income patients in need of cannabis based medicine have had their access limited to their ability to pay out of pocket. 

It is tragic that cost is a barrier to a low income epileptic child who needs this medicine in order to lead a normal life. Cancer patients and others who utilize cannabis for pain relief shouldn’t have to suffer based on an inability to pay. Medical marijuana patients will never be able to use medical insurance for their legal cannabis-based medicine until this reform is passed. I am committed to making the process of using cannabis medicine as easy as possible for consumers and patients.

This bill also allows legitimate cannabis-related businesses access to financial institutions and insurers that will make the cannabis industry more consumer friendly and safe. Currently all cannabis-related businesses, including smaller businesses that do contracting with cannabis companies, are prevented from accessing banking services, loans, and insurance. This is not a feasible way to move the cannabis market forward. 

It is dangerous to have cannabis-related businesses operating as cash only entities. This legislation corrects that and keeps cannabis businesses from having to travel with and stash large amounts of cash at the potential risk to employees and consumers. 

We are committed to comprehensive cannabis reform that centers patients, protects small businesses, and improves the cannabis market. This legislation goes a long way towards accomplishing these goals.