Marijuana, hemp businesses move one step closer to banking in South Dakota

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Marijuana and hemp-related businesses are one step closer to gaining access to South Dakota banks.

House Bill 1203 proactively lays groundwork for banks and their subsidiaries to work with any person that acquires an industrial hemp or marijuana license, pending legalization of the substances at the state level. The legislation passed in the state House of Representatives on Monday afternoon with a vote of 64 in favor, four opposed and two excused.

Without a bill of this kind, those involved in cannabis industries would only be able to carry out business transactions in cash, as marijuana is considered an illegal business at the federal level.

The legislation’s prime sponsor Rep. Hugh Bartels, R-Watertown, noted during Monday’s session that banking in industrial hemp and marijuana is “heavy in compliance” issues, and that not all banks will choose to opt into working with these industries.

No state representatives besides Bartels spoke on the bill.

According to Karl Adam, President of the South Dakota Bankers Association, there are more than 500 banks nationwide that engage in cannabis banking.

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