Cannabis banks closer to a reality after clearing state Senate

The legal cannabis industry in California is a step away from another marker of legitimacy: a bill that would authorize state-chartered banks for cannabis businesses awaits Assembly approval and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.

Until now, the cannabis industry has largely remained bank-less. Even larger businesses operate on a cash-only basis. Senate Bill 51 would allow for cannabis banks and a credit union advisory board to oversee their operations within the state.

These banks would be allowed “special purpose checks” for cannabis-related business transactions. For growers, the sudden appearance of banks would bring to end a long era of a cash-only economy.

“It would be a progressive step in the right direction,” said Sunshine Johnston, a Redcrest farmer and owner of Sunboldt Grown. “Being able to write checks and function like a normal business would be huge.”

Johnston, who has advocated at Board of Supervisors’ meetings for the county’s smaller pot grows, said banking would

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